Delta has become the first major US airline to introduce fast, free wifi for all air passengers, beginning with domestic flights and then expanding to international services by the end of 2024. Jenny Southan reports

Fast, free wifi provided by T-Mobile will soon be available to Delta Air Lines flyers. Connectivity will be coming to “most domestic mainline aircraft” by the end of this month, with “full availability on international and regional aircraft” by the end of 2024. The airline will offer free wifi on more than 700 Viasat-equipped aircraft by the end of 2023.

As of February 1, Delta will offer free wifi on more than 500 aircraft serving Delta’s most popular routes. Customers will be able tell whether they are on a free wifi-ready aircraft by looking for the new decal located near the boarding door.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian says: “At work, at home and everywhere in between, connectivity is essential to daily life, and your journey on Delta should be no different. Our vision has long been to deliver an experience at 30,000 feet that feels similar to what our customers have available on the ground.”

He adds: “We didn’t just want free wifi to offer base-level service – we wanted it to be transformative for the entire onboard experience. It is imperative all customers onboard can enjoy their favourite content just as they would at home, and we’ve put this system through meticulous tests to make that possible.”Delta Air Lines free wifiIn exchange for getting access to the free wifi, Delta wants customer data. In so doing, flyers will need to join the SkyMiles frequent flyer scheme (unless they have already done so).

Customers who prefer to not have a SkyMiles account have the option to purchase wifi access for a flat rate of US$10 per device per flight.

A parent or guardian can obtain Delta SkyMiles accounts for children under the age of 16 or allow their children to use the parents’ existing credentials.

Delta SkyMiles members will also get exclusive in-flight access to premium entertainment from Paramount+ and new destination guides from Atlas Obscura.

Mike Sievert, T-Mobile CEO, says: “At T-Mobile, we believe staying connected while traveling should be an easy, seamless experience. T-Mobile customers already get free in-flight wifi and now we’re partnering with Delta to bring that experience to all customers – regardless of their wireless provider – so that anyone flying Delta can enjoy online access from takeoff to touchdown.”

Delta also announced its plans for the Delta Sync Exclusives hub – a new SkyMiles-unlocked mobile platform coming this spring aimed at “elevating the in-flight connectivity experience with exclusive offers, access and entertainment from beloved brands that are mainstays of everyday life”.