WiFi Goes Mile High

Dennis Faas's picture

Delta Airlines is the latest airline to announce plans to offer WiFi Internet service on its domestic flights. The new service will allow laptops, smartphones and other handheld devices to access the Internet while en route.

Delta will charge a flat $9.95 for short flights of 3 hours or less and $12.95 for longer flights. Internet WiFi service will begin initially with Delta's fleet of MD80-type aircraft and expand throughout its entire fleet by the end of summer 2009. (Source: nytimes.com)

With the pressure of rising fuel costs, new airline revenue opportunities have gained momentum. Delta Airlines' announcement follows American Airlines' declaration in April that it plans to install WiFi on all its 767 aircraft. Virgin Airlines also has plans to introduce WiFi. United Airlines and the spunky Southwest Airlines were known to have WiFi plans and tests as far back as 2005. Delta is the first to announce intended availability on all its domestic flights while others offer it only on selected flights. (Source: engadget.com)

In-flight Internet access is being provided by two different companies: Gogo.com offered by Aircell Inc. is providing service on all Delta flights and selected American Airlines and Virgin America flights. Row44.com is the provider of services Southwest and Alaska Air.

The current roster of domestic airlines that claim to be testing or currently offering WiFi now include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Northwest Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin America (Source: macworld.com)

International carriers that offer (or intend to offer) WiFi include:

  • British Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM Korean Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • SAS Singapore Airlines
  • Quantas
  • Virgin Atlantic

As a result, it would seem that business travel will soon be taking a major step forward in accommodating in-flight productivity. Hopefully, it will prove more successful than some of the on-train experiments that have been tried by AmTrak or Canada's VIA Rail.

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