Delta to offer Wi-Fi on all its U.S. planes, starting this fall
Full fleet to be equipped by mid-2009; airline will use same technology American plans to test
Computerworld - Delta Air Lines Inc. announced today that it will begin rolling out Wi-Fi access on its aircraft this fall, with plans calling for the wireless service to be available on the company's entire domestic fleet of more than 330 planes by next summer.
Delta claimed that it will be first U.S. airline to offer Wi-Fi access on all of its mainline planes. But at least five other carriers — American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and Jet Blue — have Wi-Fi tests or projects underway.
American was expected to launch Wi-Fi technology, from the same wireless vendor that Delta is using, on three planes during July, according to some reports. An American spokeswoman wouldn't comment about that last month, saying only that plans for a formal Wi-Fi test onboard 15 jets would be announced in "coming weeks." She said today that American will still be the first airline to activate Aircell LLC's GoGo service on planes, but she didn't say when that will happen.
Aircell's service works via wireless connections between planes and antennas on the ground. Delta said its version of GoGo will cost passengers $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights lasting more than three hours. Flyers with Wi-Fi-ready devices will be able to access the Internet, corporate VPNs and their e-mail directories, as well as instant messaging and SMS texting services.
Voice services won't be supported, in keeping with federal rules prohibiting in-flight phone calls, which have been cited by all of the U.S. airlines planning to offer Wi-Fi capabilities.
Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in a statement that customers had asked for Wi-Fi access on planes and that the service will offer passengers more personal productivity options during flights. Delta initially will offer Wi-Fi on its 133 MD88/90 planes, and then expand the service to its more than 200 Boeing 737, 757 and 767-300 aircraft during the first half of next year.
Although Delta's announcement is the boldest yet by an airline, some analysts have questioned whether in-flight Wi-Fi will prove to be very popular as the U.S. economy sours and corporate travel budgets are tightened. But despite the economic downturn, airline executives think that offering Wi-Fi capabilities will help distinguish their companies from competitors and add some revenue at a time when many carriers are reducing the number of flights they offer.
Read more about Wireless Networking in Computerworld's Wireless Networking Topic Center.
- 802.11ac Non-Disruptive Migration Strategies Emerging 802.11ac standard promises a significant boost in performance to support ubiquitous mobility.
- City Solved Network Mystery - Saves $30K The City of Jacksonville put their hunch to work and not only solved a mystery, but found a new and innovative use for...
- Making it work: Using Cisco and Microsoft Lync to Drive Collaboration Microsoft Lync is posting impressive adoption rates. As a Cisco Premier Partner and a company that has deployed Microsoft Lync to its own...
- Using Video to Gain a Competitive Advantage: A Business Strategy for Mid-Market Companies The insights provided in this white paper are based on industry analysts and 30+ years of experience from the Video Collaboration Group at...
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator... All Wireless Networking White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!