Gogo has variable pricing, including passes sold in advance for $7 for one hour and $19 for all-day access.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said more than two years ago that he wants to eventually make in-flight Wi-Fi free, but that it could take two to three years to make that happen. The company ran a free Wi-Fi pilot project in 2019, but Bastian said the airline had to be sure its technology could handle the demand.
On Tuesday, Dimbiloglu said in a written statement that the company has “had to shift our focus during the pandemic.” Still, he said, “We are committed to delivering free Wi-Fi in the future, and this is a significant step on that journey.”
Bastian has for years acknowledged in-flight Wi-Fi needs to be improved.
Frequent fliers are familiar with problems with in-flight Wi-Fi reliability and speed, which make it difficult to predict how much they’ll be able to use it during a flight. That’s particularly a problem for business travelers, who may need to get work done during flights and who have been some of the most lucrative customers for airlines.
Last June, Delta reached an agreement with Gogo that allows it to expand its in-flight Wi-Fi providers. Delta believes the competition will improve the service and help to add enough satellite capacity to eventually offer free Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile, the in-flight Wi-Fi provider business has been in turmoil. Gogo in December closed the sale of its commercial aviation in-flight Wi-Fi business for $400 million to satellite company Intelsat, which is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The sale made Gogo a division of Intelsat.
“To meet our long-term goals, we will work closely with multiple Wi-Fi suppliers, including both Gogo and Viasat,” Glenn Latta , Delta’s managing director of in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi, said in a written statement Tuesday. “Working with multiple partners means we can pair the right technology with the right fleet.”