Delta Air Lines is going to offer free inflight Wi-Fi for all passengers from 1 February 2023. This is perhaps not too surprising, as people demand to remain connected at all times here in the third decade of the 21st century.
Many airlines offer connectivity while flying. Usually all of them require you to pull out your credit card and pay for the privilege. Is that the way forward, or should it always be free?
Free Inflight Wi-Fi
I have had a few experiences with free inflight Wi-Fi. The first time was on Ryanair, which had some kind of Internet service available during flight on a trial basis around ten years ago. They eventually elected not to install the service, but I do remember being really happy and amazed at the time, as it was so unexpected.
Ireland’s Aer Lingus offer the service for free to business class passengers, which continues to this day. I used it on a daytime transatlantic flight in 2015 and again on an overnight return, where I commented in my review, “The Wi-Fi once again was quite fast and very reliable.”
Back in April 2017, I lucked out and was on board a Qantas Boeing 737 that was testing their Viasat powered Internet in Australia. It worked a treat and the Australian airline has offered the service for free on all domestic flights since.
Is This Becoming A Trend?
The leader in all this, of course, is JetBlue. The US airline offered free Wi-Fi fleet wide from early 2017, and it did offer the service on selected aircraft before this. To this day, they continue to offer the service at no cost.
Now that Delta is going to offer the same service, this should provide the impetus for other airlines to follow suit. One would expect customer centric airlines like Alaska Airlines to join the bandwagon, and apparently most of American Airlines fleet is equipped to offer this with little trouble as well. The question is, will they, and when?
I rather enjoy using the Internet when flying, especially on long-haul trips like Sydney to London, where I paid for the service with British Airways. While I did pay on that occasion, I really disliked having to do so, especially after having forked out for a business class ticket.
This isn’t just an airline thing, either. Every time I have to pay to use the Internet, I get a little grumpy. It is 2023 and expectations have changed. Just like you no longer have to pay at most hotels, you should not have to pay anywhere else. When travelling, free Internet service is a must.
Free inflight Wi-Fi is only going to become more common, in my opinion. I think it is a good thing, as I really don’t like having to pay for the service, no matter where I am.
I still support the restriction that no voice or video calls can be used inflight. From a bandwidth perspective, this makes sense, but it is also a boon for those of us who enjoy the calm, relaxed and quiet environment of an aircraft. It remains one of the few places you can avoid someone yacking away without thought that everyone around them can hear their conversation.
What say you on the issue of free Internet on planes? Are you for it or against it and why? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Feaured image via Delta Air Lines.
Aer Lingus A330 by Adam Moreira.
JetBlue A220 by Matthew Groh via Wikimedia Commons.