For two weeks starting Monday, passengers on about 55 domestic flights can tap into Delta’s cyberspace at no charge.
The pilot program—available across all cabins on select short-, medium-, and long-haul routes—is the airline’s first step toward offering free in-flight Wi-Fi.
“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,” Ekrem Dimbiloglu, director of onboard product, said in a statement.
“Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right,” he continued. “This takes a lot more creativity, investment, and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch.”
Unfortunately, this early run does not support content streaming, so users will have to pre-download their favorite Netflix shows.
Or just ditch binge-watching altogether and instead respond to emails, have an a shopping spree, text friends and family, and upload artistic clouds-through-the-plane-window images to social media.
Delta is no stranger to gratis on-board entertainment.
In 2016, the company began offering all-free Delta Studio content via seat-back screens and streaming to personal devices. By 2017, it became the first global carrier to offer free mobile messaging, and now boasts more video screens than any other airline.
(Yes, but does it embed creepy cameras in them?)
Don’t expect to get online for free just yet, though. Dimbiloglu noted that, due to the complexity of the project, it will likely take several more test phases and “lots of listening” to ensure Delta delivers a top-notch product.
“As with any test in uncharted territory, Delta will rely heavily on customer and employee feedback to navigate how to best make free in-flight Wi-Fi a reality,” he said.
Those customers eligible for the test will be notified by Delta via email and a Fly Delta app push notification prior to their flight.
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