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These are the apps people use the most on in-flight Wi-Fi

A JetBlue airplane at the airport gate.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

At this point, it’s easy to take for granted that we have fast and (mostly) reliable Wi-Fi in airplanes no matter where in the world we’re headed. (Some airlines even offer it for free.) But things have changed a lot since in-flight Wi-Fi was first introduced over two decades ago and became truly widespread just 10 years ago. Just like our habits in using the internet — both Wi-Fi and 5G — have changed on the ground, our demands in the air are strenuous, and we increasingly are unwilling to put up with a drop-off in internet speed just because we’re flying 400 mph some 35,000 feet in the air. Yes really.

JetBlue and its in-flight Wi-Fi provider Viasat recently hit a big anniversary, 10 years of partnership, and for the occasion gave us all a look at just how incredible the demand for in-flight Wi-Fi is, and at how we’re all using it. JetBlue says over 15 million smartphones connected to its in-flight Wi-Fi this year alone, compared to just 2 million laptops — and how are we using that connectivity? There are a couple of surprises.

To start, though, no surprise: The heaviest in-flight Wi-Fi use is for streaming video services. YouTube and Netflix have been among the most-used apps since 2017, JetBlue says. But over the last several years, the cohort has changed: Spotify and Apple Music used to be right there with them (surprising considering relatively low data usage of music vs. video), up until 2022 when they dropped off the top list, making it a group of solely video streamers.

Another surprise? This year, Peacock shot right to the top of the ranks of the most-used apps on Fly-Fi, I’m sure due in no small part to JetBlue’s partnership with the streamer offering an improved trial period. In 2023, the top group on Fly-Fi is Peacock, YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

A history of JetBlue's partnership with Viasat for in-flight Wi-Fi.

Here’s the breakdown of the most-used apps on Fly-Fi, and how it’s changed since 2017:

  • 2017: YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • 2018: YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime
  • 2019: YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, Netflix
  • 2020: YouTube, Netflix, Apple Music, Spotify
  • 2021: Netflix, YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify
  • 2022: YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime
  • 2023: Peacock, YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime

Now all I want to know is what person has used the most data on JetBlue Fly-Fi this year. Considering how much YouTube I stream on flights, I could be near the top.

Andrew Martonik
Andrew Martonik is the Editor in Chief at Digital Trends, leading a diverse team of authoritative tech journalists.
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