Nowadays there are many gadgets available for businessmen to be in contact with their colleagues almost 24 hours per day. The inventions of laptops, PDAs and mobile phones have meant that the average manager does not have a minute’s peace, unless of course he is in the air. Nevertheless, the invention of the WiFi system now means that wireless internet access is going to be offered by stewardesses along with the complimentary whisky and peanuts. Continental Airlines have announced plans to introduce WiFi to first class passengers in 2009 and expect 225 aircraft to boast the facility by 2010. The service, along with the possibility of satellite television, shall be available free of charge for business class passengers and for a meagre $6 for economy class passengers. Nevertheless, this does not mean that all business passengers are in favour of the new idea.
Indeed, many see their time in the air as an opportunity to switch off and relax away from the ringing and clicking of mobile phones and without a laptop computer on their laps. They cherish the quiet time on board and as many as 56% do not feel the need nor do they want such a service. The same number said they would not go actively looking for on board internet if it meant changing flights. Interestingly, 84% of the businessmen questioned said they always try to be as quiet as possible when using a mobile phone and that persistent use by neighbours does actually bother them. On board an aircraft it is almost impossible to achieve such discretion. Out of those agreeing with and welcoming the service just 21% said they would use the internet on board solely for business. As the rest would use it for pleasure, then it logically becomes an item void of necessity.