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Delta Launching WiFi on International Flights

by on July 2, 2012 · 12 comments

in Delta

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Depending on how you look at it, one of the best, or worst, parts of international flying is the lack of internet access. Some people are happy to disconnect for a long-haul oceanic flight—kick back, watch movies, get some sleep, and worry about the emails that streamed in when they get to their destination.

Me, I’d rather stay connected even while I’m in the air. Whenever possible, I take domestic flights I know are equipped with WiFi, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been so loyal to Delta. The airline has been an industry leader in the US for WiFi availability aboard its planes—over 800 of its planes including Delta Connection regional jets and all 550 of its domestic mainline aircraft have it already.

Delta’s already an industry leader in WiFi-equipped domestic flights in the US, and soon it will be internationally as well.

United only offers it on  its p.s. transcontinental routes (with plans to equip 300 of its planes with WiFi in the coming years),US Airways it on their A321 aircraft, Virgin America’s planes have it (if only their frequent flyer program were better!) and American is at least starting to put it on its domestic fleet as well, though not as quickly as I’d like since I still get stuck on flights without internet access. (Right now over 300 AA planes have it, including all 767-200 aircraft, with the goal of putting it on all 737′s and MD80′s by the end of 2012, and all 757′s next year). AirTran has wifi on all their planes as well and Alaska Airlines has it on select 737 planes.

Following the lead of a few international airlines like Emirates and Qantas, who has been trial-ing WiFi aboard its A380’s from Sydney and Melbourne to LA, however, Delta just announced it will begin offering in-flight internet service beginning in early 2013 on its long-haul international fleet, which is comprised of over 150 aircraft, including Boeing 747, 757, 767 and 777, and Airbus 330 aircraft. Cathay is planning to roll out WiFi trials on its international fleet this year, and Singapore Airlines is expected to as well.

You could be doing this on long-haul transoceanic flights soon.

So for all you shirkers out there, your days of disconnecting might be numbered as we enter a new age of internationally available WiFi. For the rest of you fellow worker bees, those frantic mad dashes to send a last email before the cabin door closes might soon be behind us as well.

But what do you think?

Are you looking forward to using WiFi on international flights?

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  • Ronald

    do your sources at United have any update as to when more of their flights will have wi-fi?

  • Brent

    I can see them asking $100 for wifi. Or $20 for two hours.

  • Mason Atkinson

    I’m curious how the technology works. How, for example, do you get coverage over the arctic circle on great circle routes?

  • Guest

    as long as they don’t start offering phone service / skype I am fine with it

  • Guesty McGuesterson

    The wi-fi on p.s. flights on United is a joke. I think my first 2400 bps modem (for those who are old enough to remember that “technology”) ran at a faster speed than the wi-fi I’ve experienced on my last 2 p.s. flights. I don’t even bother attempting the wi-fi on the p.s. flights anymore.

  • Alexander LeVoci

    Hey TPG, this is a slightly unrelated subject. I have a $150 e-credit for delta, which I was given due to a delay at Narita. I have approximately 22,000 points with them right now. Would it be a good idea to purchase miles with my credit, or use the credit for my next short or long haul flight?

  • Justin

    Thai is claiming that their 380 fleet will be WiFi equipped as well and they’ll be doing Europe and Japan to BKK flights starting later this year. Any idea if that is still the case? Also, any timeline on when CX will have WiFi? Doing HKG to JFK in May ’13 and would love to have internet as well…

  • Umut

    Turkish Airlines has wifi in their flights between LAX to IST. It was lot of fun during 13 hours flight :-)

  • PJ

    i really dont think it can be that expensive should be in line with GO i bet anybody knows how much Lufthansa charges on their FLY NET ?

  • http://twitter.com/dodger1k Carl Beury

    From a business perspective, why has Delta been so far out in front on this, while at the same time UA is lagging? I am not a Skymiles guy and they don’t work for me out of HNL due to their upgrade policy, but kudos to Delta.

  • Canadense

    LH already has this transatlantic. I am wondering how long it takes to load a page from TPG or even airliners.net? Does it take half the flight to bring up or facebook pics or uploads? How is this service? Is it condensed webpages?

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