Delta Aims to Provide Free Inflight Wi-Fi in 1 or 2 Years
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Delta CEO Ed Bastian hasn’t been shy about sharing his feelings on inflight Wi-Fi. He wants it to be fast, and he wants it to be free. He’s been saying as much for several years now with little substance in the way of how or when, but all of that changed this week.
In an interview with Barron’s, Bastian stated: “Our goal is to make Wi-Fi free with high-speed quality. It will take another year or two to make that happen.” That’s the first tangible mention of a timeline to Bastian’s plan. If he has his druthers, Delta’s fleet of Gogo-equipped birds will offer gratis connections by 2021.
But, why? Of all the things that Delta could make free — checked luggage, Sky Club access, Woodford Reserve for coach passengers — how did Wi-Fi make the cut? And, given that Delta doesn’t own the company that makes that magic happen (Gogo), how does it intend to guarantee such a claim?
Those pertinent details remain a secret, but free (and fast) Wi-Fi does fit with Delta’s brand ambitions. The airline has made huge strides in on-time performance and is pulling ahead on customer service as well. As it looks to woo big-spending business travelers, it’s apt to win more corporate contracts if it can enter negotiations with a promise to have free Wi-Fi across its fleet.
How this impacts Gogo, or how it’ll be compensated if it doesn’t charge per passenger, is yet another mystery.
Currently, the only domestic airline offering free inflight Wi-Fi is JetBlue.
H/T: View From The Wing
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