Internet while flying should be free, like everywhere else.

Great news – Delta is going to offer WiFi on all domestic (USA) flights.

Not so smart – sadly they see it as a revenue opportunity rather than a service, and will charge ($10 for up to 3h flights, $14 for longer flights) for it.

I find it amusing that upmarket hotels typically charge (a lot) for internet connection (which I almost never take up) while, in the USA at least, the cheapest hotels (Motel 6 et al.) toss it in for free.

Those airlines and hotel chains don’t understand that internet access is seen as a necessity these days rather than a luxury or their airline/hotel profit center.

Delta and their ilk could gain massive discretionary customer numbers by including the wifi for free. They could/should even charge more on the airfare. However making people pay an unfair price on board is just going to result in lower usage, and the business case won’t stack up. Hopefully the provider of the service charges per airplane, rather than per Mb,and then everything will be aligned.

Yeah right.

Anyway – I’ll find that “internet on board” is meaningless to me as it is so expensive that I will not use it. Look at that first price – $10 for up to a 3 hour flight.

Let’s take a 2 hour flight, of which probably only 1h20 is spent in the air as there is so much padding in the times these days. Of that flight time, just say 50-60 minutes is available to laptop users after takeoff and before landing. Subtract the time it takes to get the laptop, switch it on, connect and pay, and you are left with 40-50 minutes of usable internet time. It’s not worth the money, and particularly when your iPhone will probably still work anyway.

Delta please set it free – and we will use it and reward you with service. Same to you telcos and hotels – you are charging for services that should be free, and sooner or later your competition will figure it out to your detriment.

Published by Lance Wiggs