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Delta’s Wireless Internet is On Its Way

I think it’s worth mentioning that Delta has been doing some good work on its blog lately. Beyond Marie Force and her excellent archives posts (like this one on the Hercules), they’ve been disseminating some important information as well. First Delta Aircraft with Broadband Wi-FiLast week, they announced that their first aircraft with wireless internet is ready to go. (This picture is from Delta’s Flickr account.)

Delta, like American, has decided to use Aircell’s ground-based internet service. This is perfectly fine for much of the fleet since it won’t venture over water, but it does provide some limitations. The first fleet to get retrofitted is, probably surprisingly to most, the MD-80 fleet. I would have expected that to be the first fleet type to leave the fleet, so I’d think they wouldn’t invest much in it, but I guess not.

One thing that probably impacted their decision was the fact that the MD-80s have no onboard entertainment at all. The widebodies, 737s, 757s, and even the MD-90s have some form of onboard video, but the MD-80s have nothing. So, that must be why they started here. They want to make sure that everyone has something to keep them busy.

Like Filtering Internet AccessAmerican, which recently gave in to pressure, Delta will block sites it deems inappropriate. I personally find this to be a slippery slope and it will probably create more of a headache to manage than anything else. It will undoubtedly block sites that shouldn’t be blocked and will miss some sites that it might want blocked. And let’s not even talk about how easy it is to get around if you really wanted to, but apparently they’re going to waste their time trying anyway.

No matter what, it’s good to see the internet becoming more widespread onboard. Alaska and Southwest are joining the party very soon, and it’s only going to become more common from here. Pretty soon, it’ll be standard equipment on every plane, especially since the airlines will be able to charge for it.

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