Delta's CEO says the airline will roll out free Wi-Fi and it will actually save the company money

  • Delta Air Lines’ CEO says the company plans to offer free Wi-Fi on all Delta flights, but a timetable has not been released, according to multiple reports.
  • “We’re going to make it free,” CEO Ed Bastian said at the Skift Global Forum in New York City last Friday, as reported by Skift.com. “I don’t know of anywhere else besides in an aeroplane that you can’t get free Wi-Fi.”
  • Wi-Fi technology is available at most schools and in many workplaces, but the technology has been costly to install on aeroplanes.
  • JetBlue Airways is the only US carrier that currently offers free Wi-Fi for its passengers.

Delta Air Lines plans to offer free Wi-Fi on all of its flights, but a timetable for this decision has not been released, according to multiple reports.

Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian reportedly told attendees of last Friday’s Skift Global Forum in New York City that his company planned to offer free Wi-Fi on its planes.

“We’re going to make it free,” Bastian said, as reported by Skift.com. “I don’t know of anywhere else besides in an aeroplane that you can’t get free Wi-Fi.”

While Wi-Fi technology is freely available at most schools and in many workplaces, the technology is usually cost-prohibitive on aeroplanes. As The Wall Street Journal reported this summer, internet providers like Gogo charge for installation and operating costs, prompting some airlines to transfer those costs to customers.

According to USA Today, Delta charges $US16 a day for Wi-Fi on North American flights and $US28 a day for international trips.

Skift.com reported that during the Global Forum, Bastian did not indicate when Delta would implement free Wi-Fi but said a new wireless in-flight entertainment system would lead to savings.

“A wireless IFE is great because it means we don’t have to wire the planes anymore,” Bastian said, according to Skift.com, estimating that the wireless system would cut down the cost of installation “by two-thirds.”

JetBlue Airways is the only US carrier that currently offers free Wi-Fi for its passengers. Its Wi-Fi has been freely available on its A320 fleet since 2016, and its system does not need planes to reach cruising altitude before making connectivity available, as JetBlue passengers are connected to their Wi-Fi from the moment they step on the plane until the end of the flight.

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