In an effort to win over new customers, Delta Airlines has just announced a new plan to offer free texting aboard most of its aircraft. They are the first US-based global air carrier (Delta, United, American) to offer such a service
Delta Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mapes notes, “We know many of Delta’s customers want or need to stay connected in the air and on the ground, which is why we’re investing in an easy, free way to send and receive messages inflight through some of the most popular global platforms. Coupled with our investments in seat-back screens, free entertainment, and high-speed wi-fi, free messaging is one more way customers can choose how to make the most of their time on Delta flights.”
If you fly with Delta, you will be able to use Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WhatsApp, free of charge. It is just part of the carrier’s multi-million dollar customer experience investment initiative.
According to Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian, at the Skift Global Forum in New York, “We want our customers, when they’re flying, to stay connected” adding, “Starting this weekend we’re going to be introducing free text messaging on all Delta planes that have Wi-Fi, anywhere in the world.”
So, basically, the service will only be available on flights already equipped with Gogo inflight internet. That means that not all flights—particularly the smaller regional jets—will not have the texting services.
Applauding the improvements made in connectivity technology over the past few years, Bastian comments that upgrades to Gogo Inflight Internet (for example) has increased the number of passengers who can be online simultaneously while on a flight.
“They are making a lot of progress. The new 2Ku bandwidth that’s being installed and will be on the majority of our mainline planes by early part of next year has the capability to have full bandwidth capacity on it so that we don’t have to police usage by pricing.”
Of course, in the future, Bastian expects full capacity on board Wi-Fi will be a free service to everyone in the same way that it is widely available on the ground. Commercial partners will pay for this service, the same way it works on land.