Travellers on Delta Air Lines are set to enjoy free WiFi on domestic and international flights, in a game-changing move which could put pressure on arch-rivals American Airlines and United to unshackle their own inflight Internet services.
From February 1, high-speed WiFi will be available on most domestic Delta flights, with the exception of routes flown by twin-aisle jets or the regional Airbus A220 and Boeing 717 aircraft.
As those jets are upgraded with high-speed Viasat technology through to the end of 2024, they’ll also flick the ‘free WiFi’ switch.
That includes international aircraft such as Delta’s Airbus A350, which flies between Sydney and Los Angeles.
“At work, at home and everywhere in between, connectivity is essential to daily life, and your journey on Delta should be no different,” says Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
“Our vision has long been to deliver an experience at 30,000 feet that feels similar to what our customers have available on the ground.”
However, passengers will need to be a member of Delta’s SkyMiles loyalty program to connect to the free WiFi service, which will be available “from pushback to park” rather than only when the flight has reached cruising altitude.
The airlines says passengers will have the option to join SkyMiles directly from the WiFi login page, if needed.
That said, “customers who prefer to not have a SkyMiles account have the option to purchase Wi-Fi access for a flat rate of US$10 per device per flight.”
Travellers will be able to connect multiple devices at the same time, and Delta maintains the high-bandwidth system is sufficiently robust “to offer streaming-quality connectivity at every seat onboard.”