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Airlines

Delta Selects Viasat for Narrowbody Wi-Fi Modernization

Delta Selects Viasat for Narrowbody Wi-Fi Modernization
Joe Cortez

Delta Air Lines flyers can expect a new in-flight connectivity option for over 300 mainline narrow body aircraft starting in the summer of 2021. The airline will work with Viasat to install next-generation Ka-band satellite technology on aircraft, ultimately allowing flyers to stream their favorite content from gate to gate.

With streaming packages offering arguably more entertainment than traditional in-flight entertainment systems, future flyers will inevitably demand improved Wi-Fi connections. At Delta Air Lines, that means improving the passenger experience starts with a new in-flight connectivity partner. In a press release, the Atlanta-based airline announced a new partnership with Viasat to install their Ka-band satellite-powered connectivity on over 300 mainline narrow-body aircraft.

In-Flight Connectivity Allows Users to Access Content from Gate to Gate

According to their announcement, Delta selected Viasat’s second generation Ka-band Satellite technology to build a better connectivity infrastructure. Viasat claims their latest technology is capable of supporting speeds of up to one gigabit per second, and is both forward- and backward-compatible.

The goal for the partnership is to offer an “enhanced and reliable in-flight internet capabilities—including faster, more consistent connections and an ability to stream all types of entertainment and popular over-the-top content—to any internet-ready device, gate-to-gate.” In addition, Delta notes that the enhanced connectivity option will expand beyond personal devices and onto seatback screens.

“The Viasat/Delta relationship will lay the groundwork toward a true full, fast and free in-flight internet experience,” the two companies note in their announcement. “As well as future enhancements and personalization on customer seatback screens.

As the contract begins, Viasat will have the task of retrofitting Delta’s current narrowbody aircraft equipped with Gogo 2KU connectivity hardware. This includes the fleet of Airbus A321ceos, Boeing 737-900ERs and “select” 757-200 aircraft. The first aircraft equipped with the Viasat Ka-band technology are expected to start flying in the summer of 2021. If the plan is successful, Delta says they have the option to expand the Viasat system to other aircraft.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to delight our customers and offer an unparalleled onboard experience,” Bill Lentsch, chief customer experience officer at Delta, said in a press release. “In working with Viasat, we gain the tools needed to deepen customer interactions and bring us closer to delivering more personalized in-flight content as well as an ability to consistently provide free, fast, streaming Wi-Fi in the future.”

Internet Onboard Aircraft Start of Future Technology Vision at Delta

The focus on building a better onboard Wi-Fi experience is the first of several planned moves Delta announced at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. In addition to free Wi-Fi service aboard aircraft, the airline also plans to improve their smartphone app to create a concierge experience, adding additional convenience to their trip.

United Airlines is equally investing in improving the customer experience through technology. At the end of 2020, the Chicago-based airline announced a new help system at select hubs, with customer service agents available by scanning a QR code on signs in the terminal.

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. bchandler02

    January 6, 2021 at 5:34 am

    First AA, now DL.
    I just hope Tmobile comes up with an offering for Viasat, similar to what they have with Gogo today.

  2. AsiaTravel2019

    January 7, 2021 at 3:35 am

    All airlines should copy DL and offer free messaging to all travelers.

  3. SUPERTRAVEL

    January 10, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    I love that most Delta flights have seat back monitors featuring Delta Studio. Other than the 717’s and Regional jets, I think every plane has in-flight entertainment. Good luck randomly flying on AA and UA aircraft with that.

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