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CNBC Explores takes inside look at Delta’s Wi-Fi revolution

A recent CNBC Explores segment examines in-flight connectivity challenges across airlines and takes an inside look at how Delta is leading the industry by upgrading over 1,200 planes by 2024 to deliver fast, free Wi-Fi presented by T-Mobile to customers.

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Delta is well on its way to making the aircraft the ultimate platform for discovery, with new experiences unlocked by fast, free Wi-Fi presented by T-Mobile coming to more customers each day. A recent CNBC Explores video titled “An inside look at how Delta is upgrading its fleet to bring better Wi-Fi to customers” shows how Delta’s mission to connect the skies, first announced at CES 2023, is rapidly becoming reality. 

“We want to deliver unfettered internet to our customers,” Joseph Eddy, Delta’s Director of In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Implementation, told CNBC. “... Being able to deliver that much power to a plane has its own challenges.”

As the feature explores the in-flight connectivity challenges the airline industry has faced, Eddy unpacks the significant complexity in outfitting Delta’s 1,200 aircraft with the technology needed to carry out their industry-leading commitment to delivering a connectivity experience at 30,000 feet that closely matches what customers would find at home. 

Delta’s new free Wi-Fi rollout is gaining momentum as Delta SkyMiles Members® on most domestic mainline routes can now enjoy fast, free Wi-Fi presented by T-Mobile and unlock curated experiences through Delta Sync exclusives.

The video also highlights: 

  • The decades-long evolution of airplane Wi-Fi from cellular technology to a more reliable, satellite-focused approach, resulting in increased satellite capacity to meet today’s demand.
  • Delta’s partnership with leading satellite connectivity providers to offer faster speeds, more capacity and extended coverage.
  • The complexity of Delta’s hardware – from servers to antenna and modems – that distribute Wi-Fi seamlessly to each passenger via multiple access points as they transition through the aircraft.

Eddy says Delta has long been passionate about offering free Wi-Fi to customers, but the technology hasn’t been there to support the experience at scale – until now. “Now we’re there with more and more satellites being put into orbit every day … and that’s going to continually get better over time,” he concludes.

Delta first announced its plans to offer fast, free Wi-Fi for SkyMiles® Members at CES 2023. Teams led by Delta TechOps have since outfitted nearly 600 domestic mainline aircraft with fast, free Wi-Fi presented by T-Mobile. Once connected to free Wi-Fi, Delta SkyMiles® Members also have in-flight access to Delta Sync exclusives – a first-of-its-kind platform that curates the onboard experience for customers. Delta will bring the platform and high-speed Wi-Fi to its entire global fleet by the end of 2024. 

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