Last year, T-Mobile announced that it was making in-flight WiFi free for both Magenta and Magenta Max customers (via a program called “Coverage Beyond”). Free internet for T-Mobile customers on Alaska, Delta and American Airlines flights went live immediately with (somewhat poor) service on United added a couple of months later.
Now, Delta will become the second US airline (along with JetBlue) to offer free inflight Wi-Fi to all customers on domestic flights. Delta has been gradually expanding the pool of customers to which it gives access to free WiFi, beginning with elite members and then expanding to SkyMiles members.
Starting February 1, 2023, Delta will now offer free Wi-Fi to all customers on domestic Viasat-equipped flights (just under 80% of Delta’s US fleet), regardless of whether or not they are SkyMiles members. There will also be no limit on the number of devices that can be connected for free. Delta plans to offer free Wi-Fi on its entire domestic schedule by late-2024, once it has been able to convert all aircraft to ViaSat.
It’s great to see Delta take the plunge on free WiFi. Nick was going to write that 2023 would be the year that WiFi starts becoming a free amenity on domestic flights in our recent predictions post and he should have, because he was right on.
My hope is that we’ll now see other carriers follow suit. Most of American Airlines’ fleet already has Viasat so my guess is that it would be first to emulate what Delta is doing. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see WiFi begin to get monetized in other ways, most likely via a requirement to watch ads in order to gain access to it (like we already see in many airports). To my mind, that’s a fair trade.
Overall, this is a great move for frequent flyers and Delta should be commended for leading the way. Now, about those SkyPesos…