Lonely Planet Writer

New travel websites rate best hotel and flight Wi-Fi

It’s infuriating to try to research restaurants, share photos with friends, or stream a movie when you have a spotty internet connection. No wonder that a majority of American and European travelers believe that speedy that Internet access is a must-have amenity, according to surveys by the Global Business Travel Association.

Wi-fi access crackdown in Russia.  Image by Manolo Gómez / CC BY 2.0
Wi-Fi – how good is it in hotels or on flights? Image by Manolo Gómez / CC BY 2.0 Image by Manolo Gómez / CC BY 2.0

But finding decent wireless connections in an unfamiliar destination can be tricky. Coming to the rescue are a wave of websites –  HotelWifiTest,  RottenWifi and SpeedSpot – that help travelers evaluate the quality of wireless internet – both free and paid – at major hotels worldwide.

Once at a hotel, travelers can test the upload and download speeds of a hotel Wi-Fi network by opening these websites and apps and using smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Tests just require the click of a button.

Users upload the quality scores to the websites and apps, where other users can see the speeds for hotels in many cities worldwide before booking a room.

Good Wi-Fi is essential when travelling.
Good Wi-Fi is essential when travelling. Image by Daveynin / CC BY 2.0

In-flight Wi-Fi speeds are another concern of travelers. Routehappy specializes in rating the Wi-Fi on board airplanes (based on a mix of its own tests and user reports) along with other quality evaluations about the flights, such as the roominess of the seats.

At the site, a traveler can either enter their flight details after having booked a ticket elsewhere, or use a price-comparison engine to search for tickets in the first place.

Routehappy grades how good the Wi-Fi is as well as if there are power outlets, and what type of plugs the plane accepts (US versus UK, and so on). Earlier this year, its rankings were incorporated into Google Flights search results in the US and the UK.