Top-flight tech: The 50 most tech-friendly airlines revealed

The airlines with the best on-board tech have been revealed – and it’s Qatar Airways that is top.

The state-owned flag carrier narrowly beat Emirates, which came second in the ranking.

Air New Zealand has landed bang smack in the middle of the table at number 24. The national carrier won points on its high-speed wifi but lost some points for its “connectedness” and policy on not allowing text messages or phone calls from the air.

Top-rated Qatar Airways was praised for launching “super Wi-Fi” earlier this year, which boasts speeds of up to 50 Mbps.

Passengers on board are also offered their first hour of high-speed broadband access for free or can buy unlimited usage for the duration of their flight for $10 (NZ$15).

Second place Emirates was also singled out for its selection of in-flight entertainment, which the study found includes 3,500 channels of movies, TV shows, music, games and live TV from CNN International, CNBC, BBC World Service and Sport24.

The Dubai-based carrier provides 20MB of free Wi-Fi for passengers that has to be used within two hours.

Delta Air Lines secured its spot near the top of the ranking after the study found it offered free mobile messaging via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage.

The research showed that it also offered all-day Wi-Fi passes from $16 (NZ$24) and recently rolled out new seat-back screens — something many airlines are choosing to remove.

Following British Airways, low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways is fifth after the study revealed it offered newly-released movies and TV channels such as CNN, Fox and ESPN via seat-back screens on all flights longer than two hours.

Customers can also access the internet via its Fly-Fi system and streaming via Amazon Video free of charge.

In sixth place is Cathay Pacific, followed by Alaska Airlines in seventh and Turkish Airlines in eighth. Scraping inside the top ten is Etihad Airways followed by Eva Air.

However, the world’s best carrier, Singapore Airlines, only came 14th in the study on connectivity.

Researchers found that although the carrier has a glowing reputation, more could be done in terms of its Wi-Fi and connectivity offerings, to help cement its positioning.

Caesar Indra, SVP for business development at Traveloka, said: “It’s not unreasonable to assume the airlines with the best reputation or most expensive seats will offer the best in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi, but our research proves this isn’t always the case.

“In fact, some budget-friendly carriers, such as JetBlue Airways, are going above and beyond to guarantee their customers reliable connectivity.

“Across the board, we’re seeing airlines striving to gain a competitive edge by making improvements to their tech offerings.

“From Qatar Airlines’ ‘Super Wi-Fi’ which was launched earlier this year to Delta’s free mobile messaging perks, we hope to continue to see more of the same in the coming months and years.”

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