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Delta to Offer Wi-Fi on Domestic Fleet in 2009

Delta announced that its entire domestic mainline fleet will be equipped with in-flight broadband Wi-Fi by the end of 2009. The service will cost $9.95 on flights three hours or shorter, and $12.95 on those three hours or longer.

Delta isn’t the first airline to move forward with an in-flight Wi-Fi program, but it is the only carrier that has promised to add the service to its entire domestic fleet. American is furthest along, with Wi-Fi installed on 15 planes, while Continental plans to add Wi-Fi and DirecTV to its newer 737s. JetBlue has been flying with Wi-Fi onboard one of its planes since December.

As for the price, well, you didn’t really think Delta (or any airline, for that matter) would give away a service like this for free, did you? On the contrary, Delta is probably banking on the irresistibility of in-flight Internet, which will appeal to workaholics and regular folks alike, as a big revenue win. And you know what, that’s probably a safe bet.

Even so, this movement toward in-flight connectivity is a good one for consumers. Having the option of emailing co-workers, updating blogs (ahem), or simply catching up on the news will improve the flying experience. Free would be ideal, but this is certainly better than nothing.

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