Delta will begin its first free WiFi trial next week as it works toward making the service a standard free offering in all fare classes across its network.
“Customers are accustomed to having access to free WiFi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too,” Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Delta’s director of onboard product, said in an announcement Thursday. “Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right – this takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch.”
Under the initial trial, customers on approximately 55 domestic flights per day will have internet access free of charge. The test will not support streaming, but will enable customers on those flights to browse the web, send emails, shop and use social media. Delta already offers free mobile messaging on most flights.
The trial starts May 13 and will last two weeks.
Delta said it plans to learn about system performance and customers’ preferences during the test. There will likely be several more test phases prior to Delta rolling out free WiFi as a standard offering.
The initial test will be limited to domestic aircraft equipped with Delta’s fastest WiFi, the high-speed 2Ku service provided by Gogo. Customers will be notified by Delta via email or a Fly Delta app push notification if they have been selected for the upcoming free trial.
JetBlue is currently the only U.S. carrier that offers free WiFi.