delta

You Can Now Send Free In-Flight iMessages Thanks to Delta

iphone airplane

If you frequently fly Delta, then you are in for some good news.  Starting this Sunday (October 1), you can send messages to your friends during your flight, for free.  You can use any Apple device to send and receive iMessages.  In addition, Delta is offering you the ability to use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.  This is part of their multi-billion dollar investment to improve customer experiences.

Beginning Oct. 1, Delta Air Lines will become the first U.S. global carrier* to offer free mobile messaging, providing more customers access to free messaging than any other carrier. The airline will also have the most aircraft enabled with free messaging.

All three of these messaging apps rely on network connectivity to work.  Previously, you would have to pay for wi-fi access during your flight.  Delta has said that the complimentary service will be available on Gogo-equipped airlines through airborne.gogoinflight.com.  As of right now, the service appears to be limited to only sending text based messages (not to be confused with a text message), and doesn’t seem to support the transfer of images or videos.  Which is a decent start, I think.

In addition, Delta is in the process of upgrading its in-flight wifi quality.  Delta already offers the faster, more reliable wi-fi networks on some planes, but it intends to increase that support to 600 planes by the end of next year.

From an airplane 30,000 feet in the air, a text message pops up on a smart phone on the ground. “Looks like my flight is arriving ahead of schedule,” the message reads. “Should be ready for pickup 15 minutes early.”

Beginning Oct. 1, Delta Air Lines will become the first U.S. global carrier* to offer free mobile messaging, providing more customers access to free messaging than any other carrier. The airline will also have the most aircraft enabled with free messaging.

This new, complimentary capability will enable customers to stay fully connected with those on the ground and exchange real time messages in flight with friends, families, colleagues, and clients via iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The enhancement is part of Delta’s multi-billion dollar investment in the customer experience.

whatsapp

This actually sounds really good.  On one hand, do you always want or need access to the outside world when you’re travelling?  That’s part of the appeal in some ways, isn’t it?  You can shut off your phone and just relax.  But on the other hand it does offer some advantages.  Like is mentioned in the press release above.  If your plane is running ahead or behind schedule, you can contact your friend or family member so they can adjust their schedule accordingly.  There are very few instances where you can’t be out of communication with someone completely for a few hours.  But Delta is giving you the opportunity to stay in touch.

Delta also offers more seatback entertainment than any airline int he world.  They just installed this in their 500th aircraft back in July.  Part of this installation includes a partnership with Panasonic.  I’m usually kind of critical of organizations when they make these kinds of changes.  I always assume there is a catch.  The only thing I can think of to say about this, that could be perceived as “negative” is that this will be reflected in seat prices.  There’s no indication of this, necessarily.  I also think that this is something that the market demands.  You want to fly in comfort, but you also want to be able to do work if you need to.  Or contact someone on the ground.  Delta is doing this for its customers now, which is definitely a great thing.