Travelers Want Power, Wi-Fi More Than Food

A new survey says that frequent travelers think Wi-Fi is more important than food at airports. The vast majority of frequent travelers carry both a smartphone and a notebook. The survey was sponsored by HP and American Airlines and details their most common frustrations with technology when traveling.

Last month I used Gogo, an in-flight Wi-Fi service, while traveling on Virgin America. American Airlines is in the midst of rolling out the same service throughout its fleet.

According to the survey, keeping a notebook charged is challenging for a lot of frequent flyers. More than two-thirds of frequent travelers surveyed said a dead battery (41.4 percent) and no place to plug in (26.3 percent) were their largest complaints. Power outlets also are in high demand at the gate and onboard the flight. Twenty-four percent said access to electrical power is the most important technology amenity aboard a plane.

The survey also found that while business travelers are comfortable working at hotels and at airports, their efficiency drops dramatically onboard planes. Most of these travelers said they scramble to conduct work-related items (for example, sending e-mails, making calls) at the gate before they take off (76 percent).

Notebooks would be the device of choice for in-flight Wi-Fi. Over 70% said they would use their notebooks to stay connected, while less than 20% said they’d use their phones to connect to Gogo.

I have mixed feelings about in-flight Wi-Fi. While I hate scrambling to finish work or send out emails before boarding, it’s nice to be have an excuse for being disconnected once in a while.

I suggest buying an extra battery or an extended battery so you don’t have to hunt down power outlets while traveling. HP, Lenovo, Dell and other business-notebook manufacturers offer power-efficient notebooks and a variety of batteries for business travelers. HP claims the EliteBook 6930p can run for 24 hours on a single charge.

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