Atlanta (GA) - AirCell just scored a major coup, delivering Internet capability the U.S. airline market. Despite the current dramatic financial situation of airlines, today's announcement with Delta Airlines dwarfs any in-flight Wi-Fi announcements of the past.
You may have expected to get free Internet access on airplanes in the past, but in times where you are paying fuel surcharges, extra for checked luggage, for bottled water and your pillow and blanket, fee-based Wi-Fi Internet on air planes may be the service that makes the most sense.
Delta Airlines just announced that the company will install AirCell's in-flight Internet service on all 330 domestic airplanes. AirCell will install its GoGo service by summer of next year, after which Delta fliers will be able to surf the Internet at 36,000 feet.
Pricing for the GoGo service is already determined. Delta will charge a flat fee of $9.95 for flights lasting three hours or less, while trans-continental flights lasting three hours or more will cost $12.95.
Delta Airlines joins the Internet services of American Airlines and Virgin America after Boeing cancelled its Connexion service in fall of 2006. However, Delta just dwarfs the other two airlines, since it rivals offer Internet connectivity on only 30 planes.
We wonder how AA, United, Continental and US Airways will react to Delta’s move. Even if Internet connectivity is offered for a fee, this service could easily be seen as a benefit by consumers, forcing competitors to catch-up.