Delta Air Lines reportedly plans to make in-flight Wi-Fi free on a “significant portion” of its planes starting early next year, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The company has reportedly been testing giving anyone who’s a member of its free SkyMiles rewards program free access to the internet while in the air, but it looks like that benefit will soon become much more widely available.
Delta is expected to roll out free Wi-Fi to an increasing number of aircraft in its fleet by 2023, according to the log. If so, it could solve one of the biggest pain points of trying to stay connected while flying: inconsistency – not in the sense that in-flight Wi-Fi can often be unreliable or slow, which will probably still be an issue , but more in the sense that different flights can often have different connectivity options, even within the same airline, so it’s hard to say how much you’ll have to pay to get online or if you’ll even be able to.
While those caveats may be easy to remember compared to trying to figure out what a particular TSA agent will ask you for today, the thing is, it’s not as simple as logging onto Wi-Fi and getting online. Delta has known this is a problem for some time; it began testing free internet services in 2019 and said its “vision” was to bring the feature to all of its flights one day.
In recent years, airlines have noticeably competed on technology in hopes of winning over customers. JetBlue has been offering free Wi-Fi on its flights since 2017, Hawaiian Airlines has partnered with Starlink, United and Delta have tried to make it easy for customers to use Bluetooth headphones for in-flight entertainment, and nearly every company is adding content from popular streaming services to their seatback displays or in-flight web portals. But while some video content and Spotify can help pass the time, nothing beats just being able to use (a slower and worse version of) the internet on your own device. Hopefully that will be a no-brainer on Delta flights for the foreseeable future.