Elite members of Delta Air Lines could be spoiled for vacation the next time they fly with the carrier.
Indeed, the Atlanta-based carrier is testing a new free Wi-Fi offer for Medallion members on select aircraft. Elite travelers can now log into the Deltawifi.com portal and see if their flight has free internet access.
If so, just enter your SkyMiles number and password, and you’ll be connected to the internet – no day pass or monthly subscription required.
This new offering launched earlier this week and is part of a larger test to see how Delta’s Wi-Fi networks can handle additional traffic. A Delta spokesperson confirmed that this test has been launched, but they declined to share additional details about the offer or what it means about the future of free fleet-wide Wi-Fi ( something Delta teased in early 2019).
For now, it looks like this free Wi-Fi plan for elite members is limited to planes equipped with the airline’s new, faster Viasat satellite connectivity, which is expected to be installed on a large majority of the fleet. principal by the end of the year.
So far, many new and upgraded Airbus A321s, Boeing 737-900ERs and Boeing 757-200s feature enhanced satellite connectivity.
While elite members traveling on one of these jets can enjoy free Wi-Fi, those not loyal to Delta can connect to the system for a flat fee of $5 per device, regardless regardless of the flight distance.
This latest test is apparently designed to help Delta collect data on usage patterns and network stability as more travelers connect to onboard hotspots during the flight.
In early 2019, Delta CEO Ed Bastian shared the goal of “making Wi-Fi free with high-speed quality.” Pandemic delays aside, it looks like the airline is finally getting ready in its bid to deliver on that promise.
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This summer, the airline announced plans internally to roll out free Wi-Fi on all domestic flights “soon”, with expansion to international routes expected by the end of 2024, according to an internal Delta memo.
At the time, Delta’s general manager of brand experience, Ekrem Dimbiloglu, shared in a statement that these tests are another step on the way to actualizing Bastian’s vision for free Wi-Fi. on board.
“While we are much closer to providing fast, reliable and free Wi-Fi on board, it is important that we apply our innovation DNA to intentionally test, learn and evolve to deliver the unparalleled experience that our customers expect from Delta,” Dimbiloglu said.
As Delta moves closer to launching free Wi-Fi for all, it’s worth noting that JetBlue Airways is still the market leader in onboard connectivity. The New York-based carrier has offered free door-to-door Wi-Fi with no speed limits or device restrictions for years.
Delta’s competitors have also been busy improving their in-flight connectivity offerings recently, although none have publicly committed to making Wi-Fi free. Alaska Airlines and United Airlines recently launched $8 flat pricing for Wi-Fi, while American Airlines recently launched (and extended) a free internet trial onboard its Viasat-equipped jets.
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines recently announced the addition of a new internet provider (Viasat) and the upgrade of its existing provider (Anuvu) to its Boeing 737 fleet.
Even ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines recently shared that its Wi-Fi rollout is now complete. But, unlike Delta and JetBlue, it now charges higher prices for onboard Internet access than during the pilot period.