Delta Improving Wi-Fi Coverage & Speed In 2016

Filed Under: Delta, Travel Technology

To me, Delta as an airline is such a hilarious contradiction. There’s no arguing that they’re the best US airline operationally. They’re truly the airline of the business traveler, and the fact that they’re so profitable is a testament to that.

Conversely, though, I don’t think there’s an airline in the world that slaps their frequent flyers in the face as much as Delta. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about the program not being rewarding or the fact that they “innovate” new ways to deny people miles, but rather the complete lack of transparency and goodwill with which they operate their program stuns me. Introduce a revenue-based program and devalue your miles if you want, but eliminating award charts altogether… really?!


Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

Delta and Gogo made a joint announcement today about them improving the inflight Wi-Fi experience next year.

Here’s an infographic explaining the upgrades:

Delta Air Lines WiFi Infographic

So Delta will be using a 2Ku satellite-based system to replace their air-to-ground systems, which has two implications:

  • Faster connectivity
  • More coverage over regions which previously didn’t have coverage, like overwater flights to the Caribbean and Latin America, etc.

These upgrades will start taking place in early 2016, and should be complete by mid-2016. This technology will be installed on more than 250 of Delta’s aircraft which typically serve long-haul domestic, Caribbean, and Latin America routes, including the following:

  • Boeing 757-300 aircraft
  • Boeing 757-200 aircraft
  • Boeing 737-900ER aircraft
  • Boeing 737-800 aircraft
  • Airbus A319 aircraft

Faster Wi-Fi is an awesome thing to invest it. I can’t even begin to say how much my travel life (and by connection, my life, since travel is all I do) has changed thanks to inflight Wi-Fi. While I still enjoy the occasional Cathay Pacific flight without Wi-Fi, for the most part being able to stay connected while flying has changed my life.

The best office in the world?

If I weren’t so obsessed with loyalty program, I’d totally be switching my travel patterns to fly with an airline that offers faster and more comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage, all else being equal.

Here’s to hoping this expands to other carriers using Gogo as well.

How important is inflight Wi-Fi to you, and how much do you care about speed/coverage areas?

  1. Since reading about Gogo substituting their own SSL certificates on your computer ( and explicitly stating they monitor traffic routed through their network, I’ve avoided using in-flight wifi. It’s just not worth the security risk, especially at the prices they charge and for the kinds of flights I’m on (overnight / trans-Atlantic flights when I’d rather just sleep or snooze anyway).

  2. This is why we stay. Plain and simple. I get where I need to go, virtually always on time, with friendly crew and ground staff, with decent food and good Wifi – and now better Wifi.

    Yes, Skymiles makes me mental – but I’m not willing to give up the operational benefits.

  3. Keeping in mind most of my travel is leisure, my desire for in-flight wifi is inversely correlated to the luxury of the cabin. The crappier the flight, the more I want to use wifi (to get my mind off how crappy it is). When I have lobster and a bed in the sky? I use every minute to savor the pampering.

  4. “Don’t get me wrong” is now the third most frequent thing you say after “spectacular” and “phenomenal”.

  5. Wi-Fi shmifi. The best part of being in an airplane is having private time to chill and get in some serious think time.

  6. @italdesign
    “Keeping in mind most of my travel is leisure, my desire for in-flight wifi is inversely correlated to the luxury of the cabin.”

    False. Only two continuous variables can correlate. I would rather state that there is an inverse association between the two.

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