By Cailey Rizzo
May 10, 2019
Flickr Vision

If you’re boarding a Delta Air Lines flight, you may soon be able to surf the web for free. The airline announced that it is beginning to test free in-flight Wi-Fi on May 13.

Starting then, the airline will offer free internet access on 55 flights per day. This is the start of the airline’s testing period to roll the service out for free across its fleet.

It’s not that the airline doesn’t have the technology to make the service free. Instead they will be testing how many passengers per flight make use of the unlimited free Wi-Fi. Currently, Gogo (Delta’s inflight internet provider) says that about 12 percent of passengers pay and use the in-flight internet connection. Obviously, if the service were to be free, that percentage would increase.

“Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right,” Delta’s director of onboard product told The Wall Street Journal. “This takes a lot more creativity, investment, and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch.”

The testing program is likely to take months, if not years. Passengers are unlikely to see free Wi-Fi on all their Delta flights for at least another year or two. Right now, it’s a game of chance to see if one of your flights will be among the lucky 55 every day.

The airline currently charges $16 per day to access Wi-Fi on domestic flights. Delta passengers currently have access to free in-flight messaging using apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

The only U.S. airline that currently offers free in-flight Wi-Fi is JetBlue.

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