Delta Moves Forward With In-Flight WiFi

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10/12/2008 – Delta Moves Forward With In-Flight WiFi

In an unexpected announcement, Delta Airlines has announced that they intend to launch in-flight WiFi ahead of schedule.  Instead of launching the new service in 2009, they will roll it out by the end of 2008.

With all the changes in the airline industry and the significant changes within Delta Airlines, it is great to see Delta working ahead of schedule.  The ability to get work done, or simply surf the web, to while in-flight is an excellent way to attract flyers. American Airlines rolled out in-flight WiFi on limited routes (which you can read about here: 2/09/2008 – American Airlines Puts WiFi In The Sky), however rolling out the service system wide over the next year should be a boost for Delta Airlines.

While I completely applaud Delta’s choice in partnering with Aircell to provide the GoGo in-flight wireless internet, I have always questioned their choice in ‘launch’ aircraft.   Delta’s choice of initial aircraft is the 133 MD-88/90 aircraft is unusual, not only in the routes the aircraft services, but because these aircraft have no in-seat power anywhere on the aircraft.

With Delta (Delta, not Delta’s combined fleet with Northwest) operating more than 400 mainline aircraft, many of the aircraft types offering in-seat AC power, why choose to launch with an aircraft missing in-seat power to keep laptops up and running?

I am sure Delta Airlines has researched this extensively, but why not roll out in-flight WiFi on the 737-800 (738)? The 738 has a similar passenger capacity to the MD-90, the 738 offers in-seat power, the 738 flies transcontinental routes. The 738 routes are more likely to have passengers opening their laptops, pulling out their credit cards and logging on to surf the web.

Seat Guru now lists the 738 as offering in-seat power, while it shows no internet access on the MD-88/90, despite it being established that the Aircell internet services were being launched with these aircraft types.

………..anyway, it’s great to see Delta launching in-flight WiFi ahead of schedule.

Happy Flying!

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