In the strongest indication yet that the in-flight WiFi phenomenon isn't just a flash in the pan, Delta Air Lines said today that it will add WiFi service to 223 regional jets -- those with two-class cabins -- operated by its Delta Connection carriers. This will expand by 40 percent the number of Delta aircraft with Gogo Internet service.
Delta said it finished installing WiFi on all 549 mainline domestic aircraft earlier this month.
"Adding Wi-Fi capabilities to our two-class regional jets marks another milestone in our efforts to invest more than $2 billion to enhance our airport facilities, aircraft fleet and onboard services for customers through 2013," Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president for marketing, says in a press release.
WiFi installations on Delta Connection jets will begin in January and will be complete by the end of 2011. Then all Delta domestic flights with first-class cabins will have WiFi access, including every Delta Shuttle flight between New York-LaGuardia and Boston, Chicago-O'Hare and Washington, D.C.
Delta began installing WiFi on domestic mainline aircraft in 2008. With the 549 mainline aircraft and the addition of 223 regional jets to the Wi-Fi program, more than 80 percent of Delta's domestic fleet will have Internet access.
Delta Connection aircraft with first-class cabins include Embraer 175, Bombardier CRJ700 and Bombardier CRJ900 models. Those planes have between nine and 12 seats in first class and between 56 and 64 seats in coach.
Delta says it has taken a number of steps to fully align service on Delta Connection and mainline flights, including adding first-class cabins to 66 additional CRJ700 jets; introducing meal service in first class on regional jets; and installing more jet bridges at Delta hubs to reduce ground-level boarding of regional jets.