Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Delta to Offer Wi-Fi on U.S. Flights

ATLANTA (AP) — Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that it would offer broadband wireless Internet access on its entire domestic mainline fleet by next summer. Continental Airlines had previously announced plans to offer similar service across a majority of its mainline fleet.
Several other airlines either offer or plan to offer a similar service, though on a much more limited number of flights than Delta and Continental.
Delta, which is based in Atlanta, said it would sell Wi-Fi service to customers traveling throughout the continental United States. The carrier is working with Aircell, an airborne communications provider, to install the network on Delta’s domestic fleet of more than 330 aircraft.
Fliers with Wi-Fi-enabled devices like laptops, smartphones and personal digital assistants will be able to access the Internet while in flight.
The service will cost $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on longer flights.
Financial terms of Delta’s agreement with Aircell were not released. The airline did not say how much revenue it expected the service to generate. A Delta spokeswoman, Betsy Talton, said the airline was considering options for its international fleet and for aircraft used by its regional flying partners, but had no plans yet to offer Wi-Fi on those flights.
Continental, based in Houston, said on Jan. 29 that it would introduce onboard Wi-Fi services including e-mail and instant messaging connectivity on flights operating within the continental United States at the beginning of next year.
American Airlines, a unit of the AMR Corporation, will offer the same Wi-Fi service as Delta through Aircell later this year on 15 of its 767-200 aircraft, which generally fly transcontinental routes, a spokeswoman, September Wade, said.
JetBlue Airways offers free Wi-Fi service on one aircraft that generally flies transcontinental routes, a spokesman, Sebastian White, said. The US Airways Group plans to offer Wi-Fi service on a trial basis on one Airbus aircraft in the fall, a spokeswoman, Michelle Mohr, said.
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