As Delta gears up to deliver on its years-long promise of providing free Wi-Fi for all onboard, flyers with Delta Medallion status might be able to get online free on their next flight.
The airline confirmed Wednesday that it's now allowing its loyal flyers with status to log onto inflight Wi-Fi for free on select flights as part of the most recent round of testing connectivity. The news was first reported by The Points Guy.
Whether you've simply got Delta Silver status or have climbed all the way up to Diamond, simply head to Deltawifi.com during the flight and look for the option to get online for free. You'll just need to log in with your SkyMiles account to unlock complimentary access.
But you won't see this option on every route: Free Wi-Fi for flyers with status is only available on Delta planes with upgraded, higher-speed internet access. That should be getting easier, as the Atlanta-based airline previously vowed to outfit the vast majority of its domestic fleet with upgraded Viasat Wi-Fi by the end of 2022.
Getting online on these flights typically cost just $5. Still, free is better.
It's the latest step towards unleashing free Wi-Fi in the skies for all, a goal Delta first set way back in 2018. Thrifty Traveler broke the news over the summer that Delta planned to launch free inflight Wi-Fi “soon” – at least on most domestic mainline flights, and not those operated by regional Delta Connection carriers. At the time, the airline hoped to follow up with free internet on long-haul international routes by the end of 2024.
A Delta spokesperson did not comment on where those broader plans stand.
Tests like these are Delta's way of ensuring it can open the gates to free inflight connectivity without throttling speeds. The airline restarted tests over the summer on select domestic routes. But with how many travelers have Delta status these days after years of pandemic extensions and promos, this should be an even more accurate gauge of how internet speeds will hold up.
“Bringing our vision for the future of travel to life requires putting our technology through rigorous tests, scrutinizing every detail to ensure customers are getting speed and reliability that exceeds their expectations,” Glenn Latta, Delta's managing director for in-flight connectivity, said in a statement over the summer.
Delta currently offers free inflight messaging to passengers but charges anywhere from $5 to $16 or more to get online during a domestic flight. No matter when it hits the skies, Delta still won't be the first U.S. airline to offer free Wi-Fi onboard.
JetBlue has offered free gate-to-gate Wi-Fi for its passengers for many years. Other airlines including American Airlines and Southwest piloted free inflight internet on select flights this spring. And Hawaiian Airlines is also moving toward offering free Wi-Fi onboard its transpacific flights from the mainland to the Hawaiian islands.
U.S. airlines big and small have increasingly turned their focus to expanding and improving inflight Wi-Fi connectivity in recent years. Few have been more bullish than Delta, with CEO Ed Bastian declaring “We’re going to make it free” more than four years ago.
But a brief test in spring 2019 led to sluggish, if not unusable speeds onboard. Those issues eventually led Delta to end its exclusive relationship with Wi-Fi provider GoGo and bring Viasat onboard, outfitting more and more of its domestic fleet with that technology over the last year in the pursuit of free Wi-Fi.
Delta status gets you the occasional free upgrade, free checked bags, some more SkyMiles, and – maybe – free Wi-Fi on your next flight.
The airline recently began offering free inflight Wi-Fi on select flights to flyers with Medallion Status. It's part of Delta's longstanding push to eventually make Wi-Fi free for all – and that goal seems to be drawing closer than ever.