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Delta to extend free Wi-Fi across all flights

Starting February 1, Wi-Fi will be free on all Delta planes that are capable, comprising about 80% of its fleet, Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced Thursday at CES.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
Image: Screenshot from a Delta video

Starting February 1, Delta will begin offering free Wi-Fi to all customers on all planes that are capable of delivering the service, Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced. Initially, the service will be available on about 80% of Delta's fleet, he said. 

"I've long had a vision that Wi-Fi should be free for all," Bastian said at CES in Las Vegas. "After all, we're closer to the darn satellites in the sky."

The service, he said, is "going to be free, it's going to be fast, and it's going to be available for everyone. It doesn't matter what price you paid for your seat, what class of service you chose, what credit card you used, what mobile carrier you're connected to." 

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Customers will be able to log into the Wi-Fi on as many devices as they want. The only requirement is that customers will have to log into a Delta SkyMiles account to use the service.

Delta has invested "billions" over the last few years to roll out the service, Bastian said, and has partnered with satellite provider Viasat to make it happen. 

While the rollout begins February 1, Delta expects free Wi-Fi to be available on all of its regional and international planes by the end of the year. By that point, "we'll finish off domestic" availability, Basian said. 

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"It's the last frontier of connection that exists," he said. 

Delta is also partnering with a number of other brands to offer entertainment and other services to customers on board planes. For instance, the airline will be offering free Paramount Plus streaming on planes. While the content will be available on customers' personal devices, the airline is also investing in upgrades to its seatback screens, with plans to turn them into smart screens.

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