Delta Partners with Viasat for Free In-Flight WiFi

Speaking on stage at CES in Las Vegas Thursday, Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced that the company is ready to deliver on a long-promised feature. On Feb. 1, the airliner will offer free in-flight Wi-Fi from takeoff to touchdown. 

Come February, ~80% of Delta’s domestic fleet will start offering free service, with support rolling out incrementally to more jets week by week. Delta aims to slay the final boss—full support across regional and international aircraft—by the end of 2024. 

  • Who’s footing the bill? Delta has sunk $1B+ into the initiative, Bastian said. The airline is shouldering some of the costs with T-Mobile, which is sponsoring the service. 

You knew it was coming…

Most chatter about Delta’s announcement, naturally, is from the vantage point of consumers and travel enthusiasts. We’re here to dish the space angle. 

Viasat is Delta’s in-flight connectivity (IFC) partner. Delta says it will have 700 Viasat-equipped aircraft by year’s end. Delta will also be working with Viasat to bring free Wi-Fi to that final boss we mentioned earlier. 

In its most recent quarterly results, Viasat ($VSAT) highlighted strong IFC sales. In Q2 FY2023, the company’s Satellite Services unit (which includes IFC services) revenue was $301M. ”Commercial air IFC services drove significant YoY revenue growth,” Viasat management noted. The company provided IFC services to 1,950 aircraft in Q2 FY2023, an annual increase of 20%.

On the horizon, the satcom company is looking ahead to launching its three ViaSat-3 birds. The GEO satellites are expected to bring unprecedented speeds. They’ll be capable of delivering 1-Terabit/second network capacity and delivering flexible, targeted service to customers where they’re located (and dynamically reallocating capacity when necessary). 

+ PS: This story was written on an airplane using Viasat IFC (seriously). 

Related Stories

Vast Inks Deal with The Exploration Company For Future Cargo Missions

The agreement opens the door for Europe to begin commercial and research-based missions in LEO.


The US Wants to CHIP In On Rocket Lab’s Solar Cell Factory

Rocket Lab is one of three major players in the Western market that builds space-grade solar panels, and the investment will grow production 50% in the next three years.


Astroscale Shares Surge in Market Debut

Astroscale’s IPO proves there’s value in junk stocks—space junk stocks, that is.


AST SpaceMobile Secures AT&T Direct-to-Cell Agreement

AST SpaceMobile ($ASTS) clinched a deal with AT&T to provide satellite-to-cell connectivity through 2030, the two companies announced Wednesday.  Public markets cheered the definitive commercial agreement signed with the country’s largest cellular provider, propelling AST’s stock up nearly 70% yesterday and pushing its market cap to $1B+.  Customers will be able to opt in to […]