Posted August 6, 2008 by Zak Patten
Airplanes have gotten a bad rap lately. Whether it's bloggers griping about cattle-car seating, columnists complaining about the latest checked-bag fee, or reporters investigating safety violations, the glory days of air travel seem to be behind us. But maybe, just maybe, there is a new hope. A way forward that would unite the titans of industry with the passenger in 6B.
What is this path, which has so much promise, yet has proven so elusive, you ask? Well, it's in front of you right now, and it's called the Internet. Yes, the World Wide Web into which we are all woven may just bring these opposites together—if Delta's exciting new venture comes to fruition, that is. The Atlanta-based airline is going "all in" by planning in-flight Wi-Fi for its 300 mainline domestic aircraft. Other airlines, including JetBlue, American, and Continental, have flirted with in-flight Wi-Fi, testing it on certain planes or certain routes, but Delta is ready to bring it to the masses, hoping the new service will bring the masses to the airline.
Of course, like any new service, Delta is counting on this to bring in some revenue. In-flight Wi-Fi will run $9.95 for flights of three hours or shorter and $12.95 for longer trips. It's not exactly cheap, but if you're using it for work, you won't get any raised eyebrows when you submit that charge on an expense report. If you're more of a recreational user, it'll cost you about the price of an onboard lunch box. Let's hope those of us in the media will give Delta credit for innovation, even if it comes at a price.
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