Delta Air Lines Announces WiFi

Nick

Well-Known Member
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121788491128311271.html?mod=Travel79_1


WSJ said:
Delta Air Lines Inc. will provide wireless Internet access throughout its entire domestic fleet, enabling travelers to work or surf at 33,000 feet.

The service, to be announced Tuesday, will be available on some planes as soon as next month, starting with Delta's MD-88 jets. By the end of the year, Delta will have 75 planes outfitted; by next summer its entire 330-plane domestic fleet will be online. While several airlines have been testing airborne wireless Internet connections, Delta is the first major carrier to commit to installing Wi-Fi on every airplane.

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Do you think it's fair, or smart, for airlines to invest in Wi-Fi equipment and try to earn profits offering a new service? Discuss.
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Airlines have debated for years over what new technology to install in planes -- whether customers want satellite-television broadcasts, better movies and entertainment, wireless Internet connections or cellphone service. The winner appears to be Internet hot spots. One factor swaying the debate: the proliferation of hand-held Internet devices, such as smartphones and iPods. Other carriers are studying Internet access. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines has conducted tests, and JetBlue Airways Corp. has a test under way on one airplane. Southwest Airlines Co. and Virgin America plan tests starting next month.

Wi-Fi works for airlines for reasons beyond consumer demand. The service will be priced similar to wireless connections at high-end hotels -- $9.95 for flights under three hours and $12.95 for a longer itinerary -- and offers airlines a chance to earn ancillary revenue. In addition, it's easy and cheap to install. While some carriers with smaller fleets have won over customers with satellite television, older carriers with large fleets balked at the large expense of retrofitting equipment into their planes.

US Airways Group Inc. has even decided to remove movie systems from its domestic jets to save weight and reduce fuel burn. Older systems with grainy video on small monitors are just passe when travelers are bringing their own video players with much higher quality screens and more entertainment options.


Michael Klein
For travelers, having wireless Internet can be a mixed blessing. While the service allows you to stay connected to email, conduct Internet research, plug into corporate networks and stay in touch with news, it does end the isolation of an airplane flight, one of the last refuges from the always-connected world.

For many, a long airplane flight across the country will no longer be an escape. Instead of watching a movie, reading a book or trying to sleep, road warriors may feel more compelled to answer email and stay in touch with colleagues and clients.

"Time on an airplane was either time lost or time found," said Tim Mapes, Delta's vice president of marketing. "This is going to totally change the dynamics of what a business trip is."

Delta Chief Executive Richard Anderson said his company surveyed 15 of its largest corporate customers and asked if they preferred live television or Internet access on a flight. "Overwhelmingly they wanted to be more productive," Mr. Anderson said.

Travelers have grown accustomed to wireless connectivity at airports, hotels and coffee shops. Just about the only unconnected part of a trip now is during flight. "Our customers are demanding of us the same type of wireless service they have on the ground," Mr. Mapes said.

Delta's service will be provided by Aircell LLC, a closely held Colorado company that specializes in communications for private jets. Aircell paid $31.3 million at a Federal Communications Commission auction in 2006 to take over radio frequency once used for expensive air-phone service and reallocate it to Internet service for jets.

Aircell developed a network of 92 ground-based antennas across the U.S. The antennas work with planes as high as 45,000 feet and have a radius of about 350 miles. Hot spot antennas on planes communicate with laptops and other devices onboard, then the Aircell system sends data back and forth to the ground.

The Aircell system, called Gogo and already advertised in some airports, doesn't offer connections for over-water international flights. That requires satellite-based communications, which so far have proven to be slower for users, more expensive and require more equipment on board planes.

Gogo offers full Internet access, Aircell says, including Web, instant messaging and email, as well as access to corporate networks over a VPN connection. Any passenger with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop -- or a cellphone with Internet capabilities -- will be able to do almost everything he or she could do online on the ground: email, texting, surfing, downloading and uploading or streaming video and audio. The system will be disabled during takeoff and landing.

It's a data-only network. Gogo doesn't allow voice service over the Internet, and Delta says even if a passenger somehow hacked his or her way to a telephone connection, phone conversations would be banned in flight.

"We will not allow the cabin environment to be polluted with cellphone conversations," Mr. Mapes said.

The system requires installing several antennas and wiring, but isn't very heavy, so it doesn't add much weight to airplanes, minimizing additional fuel expense. Gogo can be installed on planes overnight by Delta mechanics, the airline said. The Internet service could even be installed in regional jets -- traditionally too small for in-flight entertainment systems.

"It's very, very attractive to us," said Mr. Mapes. The airline, struggling with high fuel costs, isn't eager to spend money on anything that doesn't add revenue, he said.

Delta went ahead with the service without its own testing because of successful testing by Aircell and other airlines. The system is designed so that every person on the plane could log on at the same time, but data transmission speeds could slow down. Delta said it will be monitoring data speeds as customers adapt to the in-flight service.

I like the fact that they've come right out and said cell phone conversations are annoying and currently have no future on board the planes.
 

Screaming_Emu

Joe Conventional
Hell yeah...I'd rather see it on international flights though. I can burn a lot of time on the internet, that would be a good way to make those long flights go by faster.
 

drhunterr

Well-Known Member
Dough called this on back in, what, the Late Winter/Spring in a set of pics where he showed the circuit breakers already in place. I give credit where credit is due. :crazy:
 

Bigey

Well-Known Member
Dough called this on back in, what, the Late Winter/Spring in a set of pics where he showed the circuit breakers already in place. I give credit where credit is due. :crazy:
Was just about to say that!

But someone came in there and told him it's for something else....


Seems like he's right though! Woo!

Delta is my choice of carriers because of this for sure!
 

scooter2525

Very well Member
It just so happens that all of the international planes do in Business. :rolleyes:
wellll that sure is splendid for those fellows... but if im back in coach, the internet will last me what... 3 MAYBE 4 hours... unless I pack like 2 more batteries and some how I see the TSA throwing a fit about that...
 

wheelsup

Well-Known Member
Gee, a company offering a needed service and then charging for it. How's the drink sales going US AIR?!?! After several hundred people flown I haven't seen one sale yet. Now we're just hauling around beverages costing us weight and burning fuel.

Next idea! Remove all the beverages to save weight and fuel!!

Brilliant! I should go into management.

Idiots.

I'm glad to see at least one airline with the right idea...
 

SRA_kbad

Scooter Trash!!!
The much more important question is, do pilots and nonrevs get free access?
My experiences riding on Delta have always been nothing but outstanding. An FA saw me pay for a movie once and was ticked at me for not letting her comp it. Live and learn I guess.
I'm sure there will be some way for it to be available at no charge for uniformed crew type folks :)

And as a side note, I think US Airways can take a lesson from Delta. This is how to keep customers. Not by charging them 2 bucks for water and soda. In my eyes its simple, if a company wants to make money, keep your customers happy and they will return, with friends. There's a reason why Delta can fill up 767's on domestic routes, and there's a reason why delta's passengers always return. US Airways = how not to run an airline!!!
 

Cruise

Well-Known Member
Gee, a company offering a needed service and then charging for it. How's the drink sales going US AIR?!?! After several hundred people flown I haven't seen one sale yet. Now we're just hauling around beverages costing us weight and burning fuel.

Next idea! Remove all the beverages to save weight and fuel!!

Brilliant! I should go into management.

Idiots.

I'm glad to see at least one airline with the right idea...
:yeahthat: What a horrendous idea to charge for drinks! It's embarrassing....I can see it now: 'Welcome onboard, for your safety, we've provided an attachable seatbelt; however, we'll be charging $20 for it's use. Also, for your conveniece, and comfort, we've installed a coin-op lav in the back of the aircraft. Hope you all brought quarters!?!'

Many of the FA's around here continue to provide free beverages. Partly because the company hasn't supplied them with enough information or procedures for collecting the cash. And partly because it's just plain 'ol getto to nickel and dime the PAYING customers.
 

scooter2525

Very well Member
Like this? [YT]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hjUlrirW480&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hjUlrirW480&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/YT]



:yeahthat: What a horrendous idea to charge for drinks! It's embarrassing....I can see it now: 'Welcome onboard, for your safety, we've provided an attachable seatbelt; however, we'll be charging $20 for it's use. Also, for your conveniece, and comfort, we've installed a coin-op lav in the back of the aircraft. Hope you all brought quarters!?!'

Many of the FA's around here continue to provide free beverages. Partly because the company hasn't supplied them with enough information or procedures for collecting the cash. And partly because it's just plain 'ol getto to nickel and dime the PAYING customers.
 

Cruise

Well-Known Member
Like this? [yt]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hjUlrirW480&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hjUlrirW480&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>[/yt]

Precisely!
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Holy crap, what's going on here? Charging for a service that people might want!

Insane! Why, that might actually make people happy to open up their wallets!

What a crazy idea.

This has to stop right away so that execs can go back to nickel and diming people for things like checking bags.
 
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