Wordle without having to pay for WiFi at 20,000 feet? Sounds pretty great.
Delta announced at CES it is moving to free WiFi for all SkyMiles frequent-flier program members on about 700 of its planes, or about 80 percent of its fleet. The service, which will be available on domestic flights at first, is in partnership with T-Mobile.
It will be available on international and regional flights by the end of 2024.
The airline industry is still lagging behind in offering free WiFi on planes. JetBlue has offered the service since 2017, while Hawaiian Airlines announced plans to add Starlink WiFi to its planes last year, according to CNBC.
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Other airlines are continuing to charge for the service, however. A United Airlines day pass costs $8 for frequent fliers and $10 for non-members, while American Airlines’ service starts at $10. Southwest also charges $8 for a WiFi day pass.
Delta is offering free WiFi using Viasat equipment and is rolling out the service through the month. According to a release, the airline currently has the free service on 757-200 and 737-900 planes.
Delta tested free WiFi back in 2019
Delta had tested free WiFi in 2019, trying the service on 55 flights. On those flights, customers were asked for their feedback.
The biggest question at the time was whether the free system would be able to handle the traffic. According to the Wall Street Journal, studies have shown that, compared to paid WiFi on airplanes, in-flight WiFi use soars when it’s free. Delta’s Viasat-based free WiFi may have solved that issue.
The airline is also continuing to use Intelsat for non-SkyMiles members who will pay for WiFi. SkyMiles is free to join.