Delta Air Lines has decided to put an end to charging for Wi-Fi service on its aircraft. Starting February 1, most of the airline’s US domestic flights will offer free high-speed internet for passengers, CEO Ed Bastian announced at CES 2023.
The goal is to have the Viasat system on more than 700 aircraft by the end of 2023, thanks to a partnership with T-Mobile.
“At work, at home and everywhere in between, connectivity is essential to daily life, and your journey on Delta should be no different,” said Ed Bastian at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. “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.”
Customers will be able to use the service through their Delta SkyMiles account or join the frequent flyer plan at airports for free access on board.
The airline also revealed the upcoming launch of a new mobile platform called “Delta Sync Exclusives”, which will offer a more complete experience to passengers.
Free Wi-Fi, however, will take longer to be available on international flights and on the regional network, which is operated by third-party companies. According to Delta, these services should reach all aircraft by the end of 2024.
The on-board internet service was a major differentiator for airlines in the past decade. Through equipment connected to satellites, Wi-Fi has become a fundamental service for passengers, however, the experience has not always been positive, with companies charging dearly for it and offering a poor quality connection.
Currently, being connected to the internet is essential for any passenger, as well as a way to use idle time on board planes.
Delta’s bid is expected to spur other competitors to scrap high-speed Internet charges on planes.