Ready for Free In-Flight WiFi? Here’s What Delta’s CEO Wants!

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It’s a scenario that most business travelers (well, really, all travelers) are familiar with.  You just didn’t have time to finish all of your work, reading, social media posting before you left for the airport.

Now, you’re sitting on the runway, waiting for your flight to take off and all you can think about is finishing those updates on that Google doc your boss sent you this morning.  But there you are, looking around for that book you’ve been meaning to start, feeling frustrated that you’ve got three uninterrupted hours that you could actually be billing for if only you had WiFi access.  There are ways around this.

For example, you could sign up for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.   One of the perks of this card is that you’ll get 10 free in-flight Gogo WiFi passes per year.  But what about unlimited WiFi for all?  Recently, Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian announced that soon free WiFi will be available for all Delta customers regardless of their status.

Does this mean that all airlines will soon start to feel the pressure to offer this feature to everyone?  We hope so!

Racing to Finish Writing Before This Flight Takes Off!  If Only This Plane Had Free WiFi…

Currently, I’m in the exact situation that free WiFi would help to alleviate.  I’m Sitting in row 15 near the window, waiting for my flight to take off.  I’m porting my phone to connect to the internet on my computer, an option that will soon be unavailable when the captain announces “flight attendants, please take your seats.”  At that point, I’ll have to hurry to send all my last minute emails and unplug for the next few hours.  But at some point in the near future, WiFi-less flights might be a thing of the past.

Delta has already started moving in this direction by encouraging people to keep in touch with mobile messages on flights that are WiFi enabled.  This includes sending messages through Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, and iMessenger.

So what incentivized Bastian to make such a strong statement in support of free WiFi?  He mentioned that this was in response to Delta’s passengers who strongly (and frequently) vocalized a desire for free onboard WiFi.  But I don’t want to get too ahead of myself here…currently, there is no specific timeline for when this will be available.  I’m just going to remain optimistic and hope that it happens soon(ish).

We’ve seen how airlines keep track of one another.  One airline imposes additional fees on checked luggage, and the others often follow suit.  Hopefully, the same can be said for beneficial features (free WiFi!) as well.  It will be interesting to watch and see if Delta’s approval rating changes if they are the first to offer free WiFi for everyone.

Will it make a difference?  Some folks might feel like in-flight WiFi isn’t really necessary.  That a flight is a good time to unwind, disconnect, and relax.  But I think it’s always nice to be able to choose that option.

Would in-flight WiFi be a game changer for you?  Do you think you’d be more loyal to an airline that offered free WiFi on all their flights?  Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

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Erin Lizzo is a contributor for Million Mile Secrets where she covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in the Matador Network.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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