By early 2013, travelers on some of Delta Air Lines'
long haul international flights will be able to surf the web, update their Facebook pages, send and respond to e-mail and Tweet all and sundry. All possible, thanks to the WiFi Internet access service the airline is rolling out in its international fleet. Delta plans to introduce in-flight Internet access on its long-haul international fleet of 150 aircraft. The fleet comprises of Boeing 777, 767, 747, Airbus 330 and transoceanic Boeing 757 aircraft. When Delta completes roll-out of its WiFi service in 2015, it expects to be operating 1,000 WiFi-equipped aircraft in its fleet.
WiFi No Longer Optional
Internet access on flights is no longer seen as optional by a lot of travelers. Many airlines in the U.S. offer in-flight Internet access on their domestic fleet. It's easy to imagine business class travelers
getting palpitations over not being able to stay connected with their offices or leisure travelers restless to access their Facebook pages. Delta already offers WiFi on domestic flights (i.e. flights within the U.S.) as do others like Southwest, Virgin America, United, Air Tran, JetBlue, U.S.Airways
etc. On the international side, airlines like Lufthansa
already offer WiFi service to their passengers. Besides Delta, other major airlines are also rolling out Internet access on their long distance flights. Japan Airlines
announced on June 25, 2012 that it would debut Internet access on international flights in July through its JAL Sky Wi-Fi service. JAL SKY Wi-Fi will cost $11.95 for the first hour, or $21.95 for 24 hours upon activation. JAL Sky Wi-Fi will be rolled out initially between Tokyo Narita and New York JFK and extended to flights to and from Chicago, Los Angeles and Jakarta by the end of October. By next spring, JAL flights to and from London, Paris and Frankfurt will have WiFi internet access. United
will be offering WiFi on international flights this year and All Nippon Airways
recently unveiled plans to launch Internet access on International flights in 2013. By 2017, it'll be hard to envision an airline that does not offer WiFi access on domestic or international flights.
WiFi Via Satellites
Delta's expanded WiFi service will leverage satellite technology to provide coverage internationally. It will deploy high-bandwidth Ku-band capacity satellites to provide global coverage. Delta is tooting its horn that it already operates the world's largest WiFi-equipped fleet of aircraft with over 3,000 flights daily, including its entire fleet of 550 domestic mainline aircraft. More than 800 Delta aircraft, including all Delta Connection two-class regional jets, are said to be equipped with in-flight WiFi capabilities. Addition of in-flight WiFi to its transoceanic fleet is part of Delta's $3 billion investment in enhanced global products, services and airport facilities through 2013.