Airport and inflight WiFi
Back in 2015, American Express and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) published a survey of 3851 well-travelled executives in its GBTA Business Traveller Sentiment Index Global Report. The aim was to find out what business travellers want.
The index revealed a growing interest in mobile cashless wallets; that millennial corporates are early adopters of new apps; and that business travellers are broadly satisfied with what they achieve from their travels and their travel conditions – although “getting through security at the airport” rated lowest.
No real surprises there, but what shines through is the underlying issue of WiFi connectivity for travellers. According to the index, “WiFi tops the list of technologies that business travellers say are vital to helping them be effective and productive on the road.” More than three-quarters of the survey group agreed with the proposition: “Having access to WiFi is vital to my work productivity while travelling.”
The proliferation and use of apps in the business community – most of which rely on WiFi for their functionality – makes connectivity a hot-button issue, but for the corporate traveller signed with an Australian telco in particular, there’s a ride on the pain train for the careless.
“Business trip to USA ends with $7357 bill shock”, “How I ended up with a bill for over US$750 (A$1070) for one minute of global roaming” – we’ve all heard the horror stories, followed by the plaintive explanation, “But I only downloaded company emails!”
WiFi tops the list of technologies that business travellers say are vital to helping them be effective and productive on the road.
In a variation on this theme, Simon Baggs, CEO of Lateral Event Management reports, “Telstra put my ‘travel packs’ on my mobile and iPad incorrectly in July-August and said I owed them $19,000 after three days of travelling and that I had to pay immediately. It took 12 one-hour-plus conversations in the middle of the European night to get them to correct it.”
Barring similar snafus, the solution to data-roaming bill shock takes just a few minutes and several clicks. After the airplay this topic has received, no corporate traveller should get snared in the global-roaming sting.
According to Paul Myers, managing director of Asian Travel Media, “I don’t find WiFi connectivity is really an issue anymore because most of my travel is in Asia and WiFi is everywhere. At every hotel, cafe or restaurant, you can log on. All the airports have WiFi and even that’s become so much easier. At Bangkok Airport, they used to insist that you register, but now you just tap straight onto the airport’s WiFi, no questions asked. Even in Myanmar, at Rangoon Airport, it’s that simple.”