The passenger cabin on a Delta Boeing 737-900ER is shown while landing in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Delta Air Lines will offer travelers Wi-Fi for free starting Feb. 1, CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday.
Most U.S. flights will introduce the service next month, but it will become available on more each week, Bastian said during a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Delta’s plan to make Wi-Fi free, after years of studying the possibility, comes as airlines compete for customers in the travel rebound following the pandemic slump nearly three years ago.
“It’s free. There’s no fine print,” Bastian said Thursday. “We have invested over $1 billion to create this.”
Travelers will access the free internet service by logging in with their Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer account information, Bastian added.
Delta last March said it was outfitting more of its planes with fast Wi-Fi from Viasat and made it available for a $5 flat fee. The carrier already offers free messaging.
Most airlines charge for Wi-Fi: United Airlines charges $8 for members of its frequent flyer program and $10 to other customers, and Southwest Airlines charges $8. It’s free on JetBlue, which has some corporate sponsorships for the service, and Hawaiian Airlines is planning to offer free internet with SpaceX’s Starlink this year.
Some airline executives have been hesitant to roll out the free service until the service becomes more reliable.