A lot of us use in-flight time to unplug and either work or relax. There are times, however, when you need to stay connected. As a frequent Delta flyer, we have had free messaging for a few years, but that only includes iMessage on iPhones or Facebook Messenger. T-Mobile customers also receive a free hour of internet access on Delta and several other airlines. JetBlue offers free internet to its passengers, but the speeds are still pretty slow. Southwest offers a flight pass for $8, but again, not for streaming, just email and browsing speed.
Now, Delta is revamping their onboard internet across the fleet and installing ViaSat satellite internet to replace the outdated Gogo ground-based system. On aircraft with the new system installed (from what I have seen, at least all 757s and 737-900s have the new system, along with all newer A321s as well), a full flight pass only costs $5 and this is not just for browsing and email, this will get you full streaming speeds to watch live TV or Netflix on your phone.
Whomever made the decision to charge $5 is a marketing genius. I almost always go ahead and buy the flight pass at this price point, unless it’s a late night flight where I’m trying to rest or sleep. Even if I’m watching something downloaded or using the in-flight entertainment, I like the idea of keeping up with emails, the stock market and the latest news/sports scores while I’m in flight. I have also watched live Premier League or NFL games.
As technology improves and prices come down, I hope other airlines match Delta’s commitment to super fast internet at low prices (or free like JetBlue but at higher speeds).
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