Delta Air Lines Is Launching Free Wi-Fi | CNN Business
Delta Air Lines will roll out free Wi-Fi on most of its planes starting February 1st.
“It’s going to be free, it’s going to be fast and it’s going to be available to everyone,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He added that the airline invested more than $1 billion in Wi-Fi technology over the past few years.
Passengers will need to be members of their free SkyMiles loyalty program to access the internet on board. Non-member customers will be charged a flat fee of $5.
About 80 percent of Delta’s domestic narrow-body planes will be ready for free Wi-Fi at launch, the company said. International widebody jets and smaller regional jets will be online by the end of 2024.
The announcement, made Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show, has been several years in the making. Bastian said in 2018 that offering free Wi-Fi to its entire fleet was a priority, but it needed time to improve the technology so passengers didn’t have to struggle with slow speeds.
Delta currently charges about $50 a month for Wi-Fi on its flights within North America and $70 on international flights. It has been testing free Wi-Fi for the past few years and made messaging free in 2017.
In-flight internet on any airline has long been plagued by complaints about its inconsistent speeds. However, the efforts of a number of satellite providers and airlines have helped the technology to evolve significantly over the past decade, although it still has a bit of a leg up compared to home and broadband networks. offices
Delta is the first of the “Big Three” airlines to offer free Wi-Fi: United Airlines and American Airlines (AAL) charge different fees for access. JetBlue (JBLU) has offered free Wi-Fi since 2017.
The airline is betting that adding free Wi-Fi could make passengers more loyal to Delta and further grow its loyalty program, which has about 100 million members. In October 2022, Delta partnered with Starbucks ( SBUX ) and began awarding 1 mile for every $1 spent at the coffee chain.