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Delta will offer Wi-Fi in the sky

August 06, 2008|Jim Puzzanghera | Times Staff Writer

Wi-Fi is heading skyward.

Delta Air Lines Inc. announced Tuesday that it would begin offering the service -- for a fee -- on its domestic flights this fall. The airline expects to outfit 330 planes by next summer, making it the first major U.S. carrier to offer Wi-Fi on its entire domestic fleet (not including regional subsidiaries such as its Comair service).

"Our customers asked for in-flight connectivity, and we're responding by rolling out the most extensive Wi-Fi network in the sky," said Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive.

Delta will use Aircell's Gogo service. It will cost $9.95 for flights three hours or shorter and $12.95 for longer flights. Delta will offer it first on its MD-88 and MD-90 planes and expand to its Boeing 737s, 757s and 767s by next summer, the company said.

American Airlines has been testing Gogo and plans to offer Wi-Fi on selected flights, including those from Los Angeles International Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Virgin America also will be offering the service, according to Aircell.

Gogo says it turns the plane's cabin into a Wi-Fi hot spot, allowing laptops, smart phones and PDAs to access the Internet. (Cellphone calls are forbidden in U.S. skies, but the European Union is making that technological leap.)

Aircell said everyone on a flight can use Gogo, which allows streaming audio and video but not voice-over-Internet services such as Skype.

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jim.puzzanghera@latimes.com

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