ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines announced Thursday that travelers on around 55 domestic flights will have free Wi-Fi beginning May 13. The two-week pilot across all cabins on select short-, medium- and long-haul routes is Delta’s first step toward offering free in-flight Wi-Fi overall.
“Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey,” 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 will allow travelers to browse, email, shop, message, engage with social media and more, 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.
Delta’s initial test on select domestic high-speed 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.
“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.
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