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Delta's free flight Wi-Fi test can spoil other airlines

It wasn't long ago (2000 or 2006, depending on how you measure) that it was possible to access the internet on an aircraft. It was a circle in the air. When the technology became publicly available and the airlines started equipping them with Wi-Fi service, passengers soon found that they could not bear to fly without it. Inmarsat's latest Inflight Connectivity Survey found that more than half (55%) of all air passengers consider Wi-Fi to be an important prerequisite for influence. And nearly as many (53%) said they would be willing to refrain from an alcoholic beverage, tea, coffee, and other in-flight facilities in exchange for Wi-Fi access. As Delta Air Lines takes its first steps towards offering free Wi-Fi with a two-week pilot, which began May 1 3, the Atlanta-based operator can increase the pressure of other airlines to make the service more widespread. While free messages are available on Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, and on a number of international airlines, most domestic airlines charge a fee to access the internet for email, streaming and other purposes. And the cost of accessing Wi-Fi varies – sometimes to a great extent. Southwest Airlines charges $ 8 per day for the Wi-Fi service, which prohibits access to Netflix and other high bandwidth applications. Gogo, which provides inflight Wi-Fi to airlines such as United, Delta, Alaska and Air Canada, sells a variety of buy-before-you-fly passes. Pre-order and you pay $ 7 for one hour's Wi-Fi access on domestic…

It wasn’t long ago (2000 or 2006, depending on how you measure) that it was possible to access the internet on an aircraft. It was a circle in the air.

When the technology became publicly available and the airlines started equipping them with Wi-Fi service, passengers soon found that they could not bear to fly without it. Inmarsat’s latest Inflight Connectivity Survey found that more than half (55%) of all air passengers consider Wi-Fi to be an important prerequisite for influence. And nearly as many (53%) said they would be willing to refrain from an alcoholic beverage, tea, coffee, and other in-flight facilities in exchange for Wi-Fi access.

As Delta Air Lines takes its first steps towards offering free Wi-Fi with a two-week pilot, which began May 1

3, the Atlanta-based operator can increase the pressure of other airlines to make the service more widespread.

While free messages are available on Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines, and on a number of international airlines, most domestic airlines charge a fee to access the internet for email, streaming and other purposes. And the cost of accessing Wi-Fi varies – sometimes to a great extent.

Southwest Airlines charges $ 8 per day for the Wi-Fi service, which prohibits access to Netflix and other high bandwidth applications. Gogo, which provides inflight Wi-Fi to airlines such as United, Delta, Alaska and Air Canada, sells a variety of buy-before-you-fly passes. Pre-order and you pay $ 7 for one hour’s Wi-Fi access on domestic flights and $ 19 for 24 hours with Wi-Fi access on domestic flights.

Wait until you’re in the air to buy Wi-Fi access, however, and at most airlines, the cost will be much higher.

How much higher? “The prices vary,” all airlines will tell you. It is rare to buy an hour or a full day of Wi-Fi access is cheaper when you are in the air.

But the tide on paid inflight Wi-Fi can turn around.

In 2016, JetBlue became the first domestic airline to offer its Wi-Fi service Wi-Fi at the airport Fly-Fi streaming free of charge on all its aircraft.

Delta’s free Wi-Fi test means that the service is available on approximately 55 domestic short, medium and long-haul segments per day.

“Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi for almost all other aspects of the trip, and Delta believes it should be free when flying as well,” says Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Delta’s embedded product director, in “Testing is the key to getting this very complex program right – it takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple turn of a switch.”

The test flight segments are changing daily; is on a free Wi-Fi flight from an email before the flight or via a push message from the Fly Delta app. Gate agent and flight attendant also make announcements.

Only free “basic” Wi-Fi is offered as a part of the test, so passengers needing a more robust streaming service have to buy the paid service, currently costing $ 16 for a North American Wi-Fi day pass on Delta, if purchased before the flight. [19659006] Is there free Wi-Fi in place here to stay?

“It’s fun to see an airline a desired recreation on a free basis,” says travel industry analysts and atmospheric research group Henry Harteveldt. “But I am unsure whether Delta will be able to increase its market share, customer preference or revenue premium to ensure that free Wi-Fi is offered.”

Other industry experts expect Delta to continue down the full-time free Wi-Fi WiFi path, and the other airlines have no choice but to follow.

“Delta tends to go first with these types of customer-friendly initiatives,” says Seth Kaplan, an aviation journalist and author of the book “Glory lost and Found: how Delta climbed from despair to dominance in the post 9/11”. Kaplan said American Airlines and United Airlines sometimes match Delta instead of losing customers, even though they are reluctant to do so. “But the Delta move makes widespread free Wi-Fi much more likely than it seemed until recently,” Kaplan says.

Another reason why passengers can soon enjoy widespread free inflight Wi-Fi: millennials.

“Millennials and younger generations expect free Wi-Fi everywhere, especially when traveling,” says Kelly Soderlund, an expert on travel beaches with Hipmunk. “Like hotels that have succeeded in leveraging consumer loyalty through free Wi-Fi, I expect airlines to follow and meet demand.”

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