Over the years, airline customers have certainly felt the pinch as fee after fee pushed up their total cost while legroom kept shrinking smaller and smaller. Well, finally travelers seem to have a rare win in the form of a previously paid amenity being provided gratis. Delta has just announced that, beginning October 1st, passengers will be able to message friends and family while aboard Wi-Fi equipped flights free of charge!
The new offering will allow you to utilize apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp while in the air. Better yet (for Apple users, at least), iMessage is also included in the free messaging program. Previously, Gogo — which partners with several other airlines including American and Delta to provide in-flight WiFi — offered free in-flight texting to T-Mobile customers while the rest of us had to shell out $2 for messaging privileges. Now any flyer with a WiFi-equipped device can connect to the “gogoinflight” network, open their browser to airborne.gogoinflight.com, and select the free messaging pass to get texting.
While this a pretty awesome development in my eyes, sadly the full-blown WiFi is still as pricey as ever. However, if you do plan on using the Internet on an upcoming flight, I definitely recommend purchasing a pass from Gogo while you’re still on the ground. For whatever reason, the plans you can buy in the sky are elevated, so you’ll save a considerable amount of money by pre-buying, especially if you have multiple flight segments in a day. Currently, a pre-purchased domestic day pass will run you $16 while a global day pass goes for $28.
It’s also worth noting that Delta has actually been working to upgrade their current WiFi and make it faster. Their 2Ku Gogo WiFi claims speeds up to 15 Mbps and is available on select flights and aircraft types. So hopefully in the near future, the in-flight WiFi will at least be worth the money you end up spending on it.
In reality, saving $2 on a flight amenity is a small step forward, especially when you consider how much consumers have lost to airlines in the past couple decades. Still, at this point, I’ll take what I can get. It’s also nice to know that some airlines are still thinking about amenities and customer satisfaction as opposed to what other fees they can stick us with. Well done, Delta — keep ’em coming!