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Delta Air Lines delays free Wi-Fi rollout

by Staff

There’s been a service interruption to Delta Air Lines’ free Wi-Fi rollout.

The Atlanta-based carrier will no longer meet its original goal of fully rolling out free fleet-wide internet access by the end of the year. Instead, the airline now says that it’ll take at least a few more months to get all its jets connected with the latest technology.

Delta did not commit to a specific date in 2025. Rather, it said that travelers should expect to enjoy free Wi-Fi on all planes “into 2025.”

In a statement to TPG confirming the delay, a carrier spokesperson shared that “Delta expects the vast majority of our customers to have access to fast, free Wi-Fi by the end of 2024 and expects select remaining regional and international routes will come online into 2025. Our teams are hard at work ensuring we have the best technology onboard to deliver the experience customers expect at scale and reliably across our network.”

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Of course, this delay represents a big bummer to those who find themselves on one of Delta’s planes still configured with an old internet system. The airline expects free Wi-Fi to be available on more than 90% of its total available seat miles — an industry metric that measures an airline’s carrying capacity — by the end of 2024.

Still, that 10% gap won’t be filled until some point in 2025.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Until now, Delta promised to have the free Wi-Fi rollout complete by the end of this year. The airline officially flipped the switch on free Wi-Fi at the beginning of last year. This is a project that’s been years in the making, and it’s now a key competitive advantage for Delta. (JetBlue is the only other U.S. carrier offering free Wi-Fi.)

Delta now has more than 650 aircraft enabled with free Wi-Fi. Most wide-body jets serving domestic and long-haul routes will be upgraded to Viasat’s latest satellite connectivity by the end of the year, but the free Wi-Fi option will only be enabled on a route-by-route basis to start.

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The airline says that it’s phasing in free long-haul Wi-Fi to “rigorously evaluate … performance” on every individual route. Some polar routes pass through limited satellite coverage, so Delta could be testing the service to ensure it can offer high-speed internet to all passengers.

In addition to the wide-body fleet, Delta already promised to debut streaming-capable Hughes connectivity across its fleet of 400 regional jets, as well as the Boeing 717. This rollout has also been delayed, as the first regional aircraft is set to come online later this year, followed by the Boeing 717 in 2025.

Until Delta finishes the rollout, select regional and international routes won’t receive free Wi-Fi. There’s no telling yet which routes these will be, but be sure to stay tuned to TPG for more updates.

Though the carrier may have hit a setback in its internet rollout, Delta continues to push forward with enabling a new inflight entertainment experience, dubbed Delta Sync, on board its jets. This new software turns the seatback screen into a smart TV, giving you timely updates on connections, flight status and baggage information.

Delta Sync is rolling out to more jets, including the Airbus A319 and A320, as well as the Boeing 737-800, later this summer.

Delta’s free Wi-Fi rollout status

Here are the jets that already offer free Wi-Fi provided by Viasat:

  • Airbus A220-300 (some planes)
  • Airbus A319
  • Airbus A320
  • Airbus A321
  • Airbus A321neo
  • Airbus A350 (some planes)
  • Boeing 737-800
  • Boeing 737-900
  • Boeing 757-200

The following planes are still outfitted with Wi-Fi Onboard service, which was formerly known as Gogo, but they will receive the Viasat antennas by some point in 2025:

  • Airbus A220-100
  • Airbus A220-300 (some planes)
  • Airbus A330-200
  • Airbus A330-300
  • Airbus A330-900
  • Airbus A350-900 (some planes)
  • Boeing 757-300
  • Boeing 767-300
  • Boeing 767-400

The following planes are currently outfitted with Wi-Fi Onboard service (formerly Gogo), but they will receive the Hughes Wi-Fi service by some point in 2025:

  • Boeing 717-200
  • Bombardier CRJ-700
  • Bombardier CRJ-900
  • Embraer E170
  • Embraer E175

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