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Delta Air Lines will reportedly offer free in-flight WiFi in 2023

Delta Air Lines hopes that free WiFi will increase customer retention when the aviation industry is hurting.

delta-giant-screen
Image: Delta

Delta Air Lines will expand its in-flight free WiFi program significantly in 2023.

The change means that a “significant portion” of its flights will feature free WiFi without needing to be part of Delta’s SkyMiles reward program.

Delta has been running pilot programs to test its free WiFi offering. The Thrifty Traveler reported last month that the airline was running tests with anyone with Delta Medallion Status.

Now the site reports anyone with a Delta SkyMiles reward account can get online for free. A recent speed at 36,000 feet found that it had a download speed of 60 Mbps.

That’s plenty of speed for streaming video or catching up on work.

The upload speed paled, by comparison, at a rate of 1 Mbps. That’s not enough for video calls, although it is plenty to back up your photos or send emails.

The other thing to note is that Delta prominently advertised the free service. Screens in the departure lounge had instructions to connect, and signs on the plane reminded passengers of free WiFi.

“It’s complex to do, but we are actively testing it right now and it’s working,” Delta Chief Customer Experience Officer Allison Ausband said at the Skift Aviation Forum in Dallas.

Something to keep in mind, the planes offering free WiFi on require customers to sign up for Delta’s SkyMiles program.

in-flight entertainment system
Image: RHA

When free in-flight WiFi is rolled out more widely next year, it’s unclear whether the company requires a SkyMiles membership. Then again, it’s free to join.

We’ve all paid large sums of money to have one device connect to WiFi on domestic flights.

Delta Air Lines hopes that free WiFi will increase customer retention when the aviation industry is hurting.

Delta also plans to bring free WiFi to some international routes by the end of 2024.

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