Delta Airlines Prepares Massive Rollout of In-Flight Wi-Fi

August 5th, 2008 at 12:00 am

delta airlines in-flight wi-fi aircell gogo

Internet on the plane:  Sounds great.  Apparently Delta Airlines is convinced that people are simply addicted to the internet and would not be able to hold off from tapping away on their computers during domestic flights.  Actually, it’s not only Delta, all other major American airlines are thinking about it and testing it out.  Delta on the other hand is sold and will be offering in-flight wi-fi using Aircell’s Gogo system.

Delta is joining with Aircell®, a 17-year leader in airborne communications for business and commercial aviation, to install the company’s Mobile Broadband Network on the carrier’s domestic fleet. The system, Gogo™, will enable Delta customers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs, to access the Internet, corporate VPNs, corporate and personal e-mail accounts, as well as SMS texting and instant messaging services.  Gogo will be available to customers for a flat fee of $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours. [Press Release]

And there you have it.  By the time Delta rolls out this service in mid 2009 on all their domestic flights, other airlines will already be playing catch-up.

“Delta remains committed to providing a travel experience that maximizes the time our customers spend with us onboard by offering them even more productivity options,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer. ”Our customers asked for in-flight connectivity, and we’re responding by rolling out the most extensive Wi-Fi network in the sky.  Beginning this fall, our passengers will have the ability to stay connected when they travel with us throughout the continental U.S.”

A few years ago, major airlines have been testing another in-flight Wi-Fi system called Connexion. However that system was not viable physically and economically.  Recently, Aircell and Jetblue have come up with a system that’s lighter, easier to install and smaller than Connexion making the whole thing economically and physically viable for domestic aircraft.  Hence, Delta will be intalling the Aircell Gogo system on all their 330 airplanes.  Completion is targetted by summer 2009.