But who pays the bill for constant connectivity?
Today, more and more charter customers are requesting, even expecting, Wi-Fi in the sky.
Some are even saying … No internet - No go!
According to industry reports, 80 to 90 percent of charter customers demand in-flight internet and the number is consistently increasing. For larger aircraft, traveling international, global connectivity is a must. Many travelers today just do not want to be disconnected while in flight. For most, the internet has become a required tool that improves efficiencies and quality of life. So it makes perfect sense that aircraft charter and internet connectivity go hand-in-hand. In fact, the convenience and productivity private air charter provides has become synonymous with internet access. Without it, business travelers cannot be as efficient and pleasure flyers lose entertainment options. This presents a big problem for charter operators, lost revenue today if you provide Satcom, and future lost revenue if you don’t.
So how does your charter operation keep the customer happily connected without incurring runaway costs?
Satcom equipment and in-flight airtime are expensive. Websites such as YouTube, and selected media like flash, video, even images consume costly data. Prices vary in proportion to the level and type of activity; the more data used the more expensive it becomes. These costs add to the direct operating expenses of your charter department. And if no one is monitoring data usage, it can easily get out of control, even abused. Until recently, most operators have been absorbing the impact and losing revenue. Others have chosen not to equip the aircraft with Satcom due to the expense, potentially putting them out of the market.
But the winds are changing thanks to a WIN-WIN solution developed by AirSatOne, Flightstream™ SA data monitoring, filtering and convenient customer bill back platform.
AirSatOne’s platform provides charter customers with a superior internet experience with multiple airtime, streaming and call packages designed to meet the needs of customers at reduced airtime cost. Data monitoring is done through an online portal where the aircraft operator can view individual aircraft or fleet data consumption. They can also provide passengers with a pop-up display on their personal devices showing usage and costs to avoid billing surprises. AirSatOne also supplies seat back cards that operators can place on board detailing the services available and costs per MB. Operators have complete control over data fees charged to passengers and can set them to break even or create an additional revenue stream to offset equipment and installation expense.
“We have a large customer base that has been with us for a long time and we’ve found by letting them know up front that Satcom internet is billed back, and giving them an estimate of usage costs, we never have any issues,” says Daniel Swerdlow, Charter Manager for Eastway Aviation / Sunrise Jets. “International customers always request internet, so having our aircraft equipped with Satcom is essential, we never have to turn away a customer because we can’t keep them connected.”
Jo Kremsreiter, AirSatOne President, understands how important it is for charter operators to control costs. His company developed the bill back platform to reduce profit loss. Currently, charter operators must choose between absorbing the cost of internet or averaging usage costs across all customers. This results in higher trip quotes for everyone as low-data users pay for high-data users. Neither option solves the problem of runaway data usage and excessive fees on some flights. The only solution is to separate Satcom consumption (internet) from the quote and bill back actual usage to the individual customer.
Through the Flightstream™ SA online portal operators can view a customer’s airtime and add it to the invoice. This method is simple and convenient for both parties. By having customers pay for the data they consume they are more conscientious of their usage. “Billing back internet usage is just good business,” says Kremsreiter. “When installation costs are spread out amongst users and customers pay for usage, as opposed to the charter operator eating the entire cost, it’s a win/win for everyone.”
From the flight deck to the cabin, internet connectivity provides an improved operating environment. Now companies can equip the aircraft and provide Satcom service with confidence knowing they will recoup the investment through usage fees. The bottom line is private flyers want internet connectivity and the demand will only continue to increase. But, without a bill back plan in place, profits will burn up through Satcom data usage.
To learn more about AirSatOne’s Satcom services, including Flightstream™ SA’s online data tracking and customer bill back program, call us today or visit us on the web.
302-327-9999 ext 1