Delta Will Offer Free In-Flight Text Messaging From This Weekend

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Delta has announced that it plans to offer passengers free text messaging on all its Gogo-enabled flights from 1 October 2017 as an addition to the free in-flight entertainment that’s already on offer.

In a press release today this is what Delta had to say:

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.

Amusingly, Delta had to call itself a “US global carrier” in that statement and had to add a footnote explaining what that was supposed to mean:

*U.S. Global Carrier = U.S.-based airlines operating trans-oceanic routes: Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines​

The reason for the footnote is because Delta cannot claim to be the first US carrier to offer such a service – Alaska Airlines has been offering this for some time and it rolled out free texts and free movies to Virgin America in August too.

Nevertheless, better late than never 🙂

The press release went on to read…

Free messaging will be available on all Gogo-enabled Delta flights, including all aircraft with two or more cabins. Customers will be able to access free messaging through Delta’s Wi-Fi portal page, Free mobile messaging will be for text use only and does not support the transfer of photo or video files.

That seems fair enough. Limiting the service to texts only should keep the system running smoothly for passengers who don’t simply want to send self-indulgent selfies to someone on the ground who probably couldn’t care less.

Passengers who can’t survive a flight without sending photos to social media or friends can always pay to use Delta’s high-speed 2Ku wi-fi which is currently being rolled out across the fleet.