Delta offering free inflight WiFi to passengers for two weeks

Gogo's "2Ku" dual Ku-band antenna.
Gogo’s “2Ku” dual Ku-band antenna.

Starting today, Delta is offering free inflight WiFi to passengers.  The carrier is offering limited free WiFi to all passengers on 55 of its short-, medium- and long-haul domestic flight segments over a two-week period.

The airline says the test will allow passengers to browse the internet, check emails, shop online, use social media and send messages, but won’t include more demanding services such as audio and video streaming.

“Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too,” said Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Onboard Product.

“Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right – this takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch.”

While this test will not support content streaming, it enables customers to browse, email, shop, message, engage with social media and more – all free of charge.

In 2016, Delta was the first global airline to drop the paid model for in-flight entertainment and offer all-free Delta Studio content via seat-back screens and streaming to personal devices.

In 2017, Delta was the first global carrier to offer free mobile messaging and since then it has grown its lead in offering more seat-back video screens than any other airline.

All of this is part of multi-billion-dollar investments Delta has made in recent years to transform travel into a part of the journey to look forward to.

Delta’s initial test on select domestic high-speed Gogo 2Ku Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft is designed to understand customer experience preferences, system performance, customer feedback and more. Dimbiloglu noted that due to the complexity of the project, it will likely take several more test phases and lots of listening to ensure the free product Delta delivers, adds value.

“As with any test in uncharted territory, Delta will rely heavily on customer and employee feedback to navigate how to best make free in-flight Wi-Fi a reality,” Dimbiloglu said.

Test flight segments will change daily as part of the test structure, but customers will be notified by Delta if they’re being tapped for the test via email and a Fly Delta app push notification prior to their flight and upon visiting the Wi-Fi portal on board.

Delta currently offers Wi-Fi on nearly all flights across its domestic and international networks and has installed high-speed Gogo 2Ku on 60 percent of mainline aircraft.

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