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Update on Delta’s Free WiFi Plans

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


René wrote earlier this year that Delta Air Lines plans to offer free, high-speed WiFi access on its flights.

At the time, Delta CEO Ed Bastian indicated that passengers would enjoy complimentary internet sometime in 2020 or 2021.

Right now, Delta passengers can purchase a variety of inflight internet plans from Gogo, the mothership’s WiFi provider.

Considering the Business Platinum Card from American Express is discontinuing its perk of 10 annual free Gogo inflight internet sessions and the City National Bank Infinite card (which offered Gogo passes) is going away, many of us hope free internet comes to fruition sooner than later.

So is there any update on Delta’s free WiFi?

During an interview with David Rubenstein, Mr. Bastian reiterated he’s a “firm believer we need to make WiFi free.” But unfortunately, the technical capability isn’t in place yet.

He even referred to Gogo as “NoGo” and “SlowGo.” Ouch.

Mr. Bastian said the airline has tested free internet but the service is “not where it needs to be.” Based on his comments, it sounds likes the Gogo system takes a hit when about 10% or more of a flight’s passengers use WiFi.

Gogo WiFi equipment as seen at their Chicago plant.
Gogo WiFi equipment as seen at their Chicago plant.

Even though it’s only been about nine months since the initial report, it certainly sounds like we’re still at least another year or two away from free WiFi on Delta flights.

I enjoy the complimentary messaging feature on Delta flights (available via What’s App and iMessage/Messages.)

A couple of other tidbits from the interview:

**Mr. Bastian vows that even if the FCC were ever to allow cell phone conversations inflight, it would be banned on Delta as long as he’s CEO.

**In addition to Delta’s significant investments in LAX, La Guardia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Salt Lake City, they’re also modernizing airports such as MSP and DTW.

— Chris

 

 

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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4 Comments

  1. Barely works now spotty at best, Delta has a lot of work to do before would even attempt to roll it out. FYI US Bank Altitude Reserve still gives 10 GOGO internet certificates

  2. Bryan Mortenson Reply

    Dropping GoGo entirely and switching to ViaSat would solve a lot of Delta’s connectivity issues.

  3. I agree with the other two comments. GoGo has been very unreliable for me. I fly a lot of shorter Delta flights, typically an hour to an hour and a half, and although I usually get reimbursed by my work I rarely use it. It’s too inconsistent and the 10,000 foot cut off is nonsense. I fly Southwest almost as often as Delta and while their internet isn’t perfect, it’s better than GoGo and good from gate to gate. One other note, I totally support Mr. Bastian in his opposition to allowing cell phone calls. Even if allowed by the FAA, I will not fly any airline that permits it unless I absolutely have to.

  4. Barry Graham Reply

    I don’t agree with Mr Bastian’s comments about phone calls. I think the fear of allowing them is groundless. For years they were allowed and they weren’t discontinued because of noise, but because it cost dollars per minute. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways allows them and there is no unreasonably loud talking. The flight attendant on my most recent flight with Virgin laughed when I told her about the US ban. Usually Americans are more chilled about things than Brits (I know because I am both). It’s interesting how some American flights attendants (who are the reason behind the ban) feel strongly about this, when you can see from when calls are allowed (before departure and after landing) that most people behave reasonably and those that don’t are going to find some other way to annoy other people or the people being annoyed will find some other reason to get annoyed.

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