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December 15, 2008

Delta to Implement Wi-Fi on Flights

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

They took away your peanuts, so what. Now, Delta is trying to correct their error by providing Wi-Fi on some of their flights…and making you pay for it. Hey, at least they’re trying.  
According to the Washington Post, Delta Air Lines is expected to begin offering Wi-Fi service to its passengers. Allowing passengers to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi enabling laptops, PDAs, or smartphones will cost $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours. Don’t worry, the in-house movie is still free but, that could change too.

Delta is partnering with Aircell to provide the service, which also supplies in-flight Wi-Fi technology to other carriers, such as American Airlines and Virgin America.
Initially, the Wi-Fi service will be available on shuttle flights between Washington's Reagan National, New York's LaGuardia, and Boston's Logan airports, according to the Post.
Eventually, the Atlanta-based airline plans to supply its domestic fleet of 330 aircraft with Wi-Fi, which calculates to about 60 percent of Delta's seats flown every day.
Another airline company, Virgin America, introduced its Gogo Inflight Internet service to passengers on a single Wi-Fi enabled plane on November 24. The company expects, by the second quarter of 2009, to offer Wi-Fi on its entire fleet of planes.
Several other airlines, including American Airlines and JetBlue, have also announced similar in-flight Wi-Fi plans.
Boeing first offered a service called Connexion, which debuted in 2004 on a few international carriers, including Lufthansa, SAS (News - Alert), All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.
However, in 2006 the company canceled the service, when it was unable to find business among domestic airlines. A big problem with Connexion was that the entire system was bulky and weighed around 400 pounds, making it nearly impossible for it to be used on smaller domestic planes.
With the implementation of Wi-Fi on Delta, time will tell if, “Delta is ready when you are.”

Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek


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