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Delta Announces Free Inflight Wi-Fi Starting Next Month

The only requirement: Passengers will be required to log in via their SkyMiles account

by Enrique Perrella

January 5, 2023

Photo: Delta News Hub

Delta Air Lines CEO, Ed Bastian, announced during CES—the world’s biggest consumer trade show—that starting February 1, the airline will offer free Wi-Fi to all its customers.

“Delta is here to announce that starting February 1, Wi-Fi will be free across our entire company. It is going to be free, it is going to be fast, and it is going to be available to everyone,” Bastian said, delivering on a promise that he made in 2018.

According to the airline’s boss, the only requirement to use the complimentary service will be to log in via the passenger’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program account.

Last week, Delta’s Director of Onboard product, Ekrem Dimbiloglu, anticipated the much-awaited news. “Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too.”

Delta’s move to provide its customers with free internet connectivity is a tremendous step to remain on top of the competition. Bastian noted that the airline has invested over $1 billion to make this happen.

Starting in February, about 80% of the airplanes in the airline’s fleet should be equipped to offer the complimentary service, which won’t be limited to one device. Also, according to the airline’s CEO, the target is to have the full fleet—including domestic and international—equipped with the service by the end of 2024.

Even though JetBlue already offers the service at no cost to its passengers, Delta is the first of the major legacy carriers in the US to provide this service. American Airlines and United Airlines continue to charge for connectivity.

According to Bastian, Delta’s efforts to continue to please its customers through partnerships with companies like Starbucks have added over a million new SkyMiles members to its portfolio. Likely, Delta’s requirement to log in through a SkyMiles account to enjoy free in-flight connectivity should continue to increase the number of SkyMiles members by a considerable amount.

As noted by Kyle Potter, executive editor at Thrifty Traveler, “by offering free Wi-Fi only to those with a SkyMiles account rather than absolutely anyone onboard, Delta can capture consumer information and deepen ties with flyers, targeting them with promotions or even convincing them to sign up for an American Express Delta SkyMiles card.”