The FINANCIAL — Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) on December 16 marks the initial launch of Gogo Inflight Internet service onboard six of the airline’s aircraft, the first in a series of more than 300 Delta domestic mainline aircraft that will soon feature the new customer offering.
Inflight Internet initially will be available on five MD-88 aircraft flying Delta Shuttle routes between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Boston’s Logan and Washington’s Reagan airports plus one Boeing 757 flying throughout Delta’s domestic system, with service spreading to other Delta routes as additional aircraft are introduced.
“In-flight Internet access is one of the most popular requests we receive from our customers. Delta’s launch of Gogo onboard these first Delta aircraft demonstrates our continued commitment to providing our customers with the options they want and value when they travel with us,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s senior vice president of Marketing. “Next year when Gogo is available on our entire domestic mainline fleet, our customers will have access to the most extensive Wi-Fi network in the sky, making the time they spend with us on board even more productive and entertaining.”
To celebrate the launch, Delta passengers traveling on the Gogo-equipped MD-88 Shuttle aircraft will be treated to a holiday surprise with complimentary access to Gogo during a Dec. 16 – 31, 2008 promotional period. A “Wi-Fi hot spot” decal will be prominently displayed adjacent to the boarding door of the MD-88 aircraft so customers will know Gogo Inflight Internet service is available on their flight. In addition, a Delta-Gogo instructional card will be available in each seatback, providing details on how to sign up for the service. Gogo representatives and Delta employees will be available at all three Delta Shuttle-served airports throughout the promotional period to provide information and assistance to customers traveling during this timeframe.
Delta joined with Aircell, a 17-year leader in airborne communications for business and commercial aviation, to install the company’s Gogo Inflight Internet service on the carrier’s mainline domestic fleet. Gogo offers customers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) access to the Internet, corporate VPNs, corporate and personal e-mail accounts, as well as SMS texting and instant messaging services for a flat fee of $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours.
“As Delta begins its fleet-wide deployment of Gogo, it is once again demonstrating its customer-first commitment,” said Jack Blumenstein, President and CEO, Aircell. “Broadband Internet access has long topped passengers’ lists of desired inflight services and now that Gogo has launched it looks like 2009 will finally be the year of Inflight Internet. Customer-centric carriers like Delta are blazing the trail and delivering the full Internet experience their customers most desire. We are excited to work with Delta to give passengers the opportunity to stay connected in flight.”
Delta expects 10 aircraft to be in service by the end of this year. Throughout 2009, Delta will continue to add Inflight Internet across its domestic fleet, first on MD-88, MD-90, Boeing 757 and Boeing 737 aircraft, expanding to the remaining domestic fleet of Boeing 767-300 aircraft by late 2009. In addition, Delta and Aircell will begin the certification process for the mainline domestic fleet of the airline’s Northwest subsidiary in early 2009 with Gogo installations scheduled to begin in late 2009. The full fleet agreement between Aircell and Delta will ultimately ensure a consistent, convenient onboard experience for customers traveling throughout the continental United States on Delta- or Northwest-operated flights who wish to use the Internet service.
In addition to being the most cost-effective inflight broadband technology available, the Aircell system is extremely light and requires minimal space on the aircraft, making it a sound investment in a highly competitive environment.