Lots of things are really important when flying an aircraft—aerodynamics, engines, cockpit avionics—but when you consider that those are expected requirements from passengers, you start to differentiate that experience. And today, it’s seamless, reliable internet access that is changing the game and increasing operator satisfaction.
The famous psychologist Frederick Herzberg, one of the most influential names in business management, pointed out that the things which make us dissatisfied or unhappy about an experience are actually different from those things that make us happy or even excited about an experience. He called them hygiene and motivational factors.
For example, I am going to be pretty dissatisfied with my flight if my aircraft is AOG and no amount of impressive features on the aircraft is going to make up for not getting where I need to go—this is what Herzberg referred to as “hygiene.” However, once you have the basics in place, then other things can start to matter and make us say, “Wow.” The trouble is, “wow” changes all the time and becomes familiar and expected.
At the heart of nearly every business is some level of online activity, be it in the office, on a mobile device or in a car. We are much closer to a world where the ability to access the internet in flight is a basic hygiene factor for keeping passengers satisfied. For some people, it already is. While it may not be officially on the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) for safe flight operations, reliable internet access is becoming so important that if it is not going to be available, then principals will find another aircraft—just as they would if there was an engine issue.
Beyond keeping passengers satisfied, access to the internet is changing how business jets are utilized. With the ability to use the aircraft as an office, flight times can be changed to make better use of the time spent flying. For example, business jets do not have to conform to the same issues affecting commercial airliners on long-haul, eastbound transatlantic flights that are typically overnight sleeper flights (and a bad night’s sleep at that!). A business jet has a wider choice of airports for point-to-point operation. Business jets can fit into an alternative flight operation pattern to keep the aircraft passengers as productive as possible on the internet while they travel so they are prepared when they arrive at their destination.
Access to the internet on board that aircraft just helped get an even better return on the aircraft investment and that can only help any justification of what is important to have on the aircraft.
If you are still not convinced as you read this, try turning off your computer and getting any work done today. It might be fun, but it won’t last. Everything has changed.