Delta keeps inching closer and closer toward its longstanding goal of making inflight Wi-Fi free for all. Now, any traveler with a Delta SkyMiles account (which is free to join) can get online on select Delta flights without paying a dime.
The Points Guy was the first to report that Delta has expanded its free Wi-Fi testing to all SkyMiles members, though only on certain aircraft types. It's the latest and biggest test yet towards opening the floodgates for free internet in the skies for the Atlanta-based airline.
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 – and you can even join SkyMiles if you don't already have an account and get online free.
“We are currently in the process of testing Wi-Fi infrastructure with various offerings to select customers on select routes. Customers will be notified if they have this option on their flight,” the airline told TPG in a statement.
It's a rapid evolution from just two weeks ago, when Delta launched complimentary Wi-Fi for flyers with Delta Medallion Status. This is the next step: an encouraging sign that Delta can keep making Wi-Fi free to more and more travelers without without slowing down speeds.
And it fits in with the news Thrifty Traveler broke this summer that Delta planned to launch free inflight Wi-Fi “soon” – at least on most domestic mainline flights. At the time, the airline aimed to have free Wi-Fi available on all international flights by the end of 2024.
That said, Wi-Fi for SkyMiles members won't be free on all flights just yet. It's apparently 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.
A full flight of Wi-Fi at streaming speeds typically only costs $5 on those planes. Still, free is better, right?
Delta CEO Ed Bastian first laid down the marker more than four years ago, saying: “I don’t know of anywhere else, besides in an airplane, that you can’t get free Wi-Fi. We’re going to make it free.”
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. After several rounds of broader and broader testing, it seems to be holding up.
Delta would be the first of the four major U.S. airlines to offer free Wi-Fi to all flyers – but not the first airline, period. That distinction goes to JetBlue, which has offered free gate-to-gate Wi-Fi for its passengers for many years.
And Delta isn't alone in doubling down on inflight connectivity, either. 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.
The writing is on the wall: Wi-Fi will be free on Delta flights soon.
With this latest test granting free inflight connectivity to anyone with a SkyMiles account, it seems clear that the airline can open up complimentary internet access to everyone, finally delivering on a promise made more than four years ago.
Lead photo courtesy of Delta News Hub via Flickr