Delta beats the competition to the punch on offering free Wi-Fi

Photo (c) Anchiy - Getty Images

The new service begins Feb 1, 2023

If there ever was a shout-from-the-mountaintops by consumers, all one needs to do is look at the massive fallout from Southwest’s recent meltdown.

That fact is not lost on Delta Air Lines. On Thursday, CEO Ed Bastian said at this year’s CES conference that the airline will follow through with its promise to make in-flight Wi-Fi free for everyone aboard starting this February. 

“It is going to be free, it is going to be fast, and it is going to be available to everyone,” Bastian said. All a traveler has to do to access the service is login to their SkyMiles account -- and they can connect as many devices as they want, too. 


There has to be at least one “but,” doesn’t there? Delta said that the Wi-Fi rollout will only be available on its aircraft that are equipped with a new system built by satellite internet provider Viasat. So far, about 80% of Delta’s domestic fleet is equipped with Viasat and the company’s goal is to have the service installed on 700 aircraft by the end of 2023 and on all of its flights by the end of 2024.

Will others follow suit?

No other airline played their “me, too” card in response to Delta’s announcement. But since Viasat has systems already in place on JetBlue, United, and American, those carriers might consider dropping their internet fee ($14/day on American) so they don’t lose any business to Delta.

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