The passenger cabin of a Delta Boeing 737-900ER is shown as it lands in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Delta Air Lines will offer travelers free Wi-Fi starting Feb. 1[ads1], CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday.
Most US airlines will introduce the service next month, but it will be available on more each week, Bastian said during a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Delta’s plan to make Wi-Fi free, after years of studying the possibility, comes as airlines compete for customers in the post-pandemic travel recovery nearly three years ago.
“It’s free. There’s no fine print,” Bastian said Thursday. “We have invested over $1 billion to create this.”
Travelers will access the free internet service by logging in with their Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer account information, Bastian added.
Delta said last March that it was equipping several of its planes with high-speed Wi-Fi from Viasat and made it available for a flat fee of $5. The carrier already offers free messages.
Most airlines charge for Wi-Fi: United Airlines charges $8 for members of the bonus program and $10 for other customers, and Southwest Airlines costs $8. It’s free on JetBluewhich has some corporate sponsorships for the service, and Hawaiian Airlines plans to offer free internet with SpaceX’s Starlink this year.
Some airline executives have been hesitant to roll out the free service until the service becomes more reliable.