Among the many annoyances of air travel, having to pay for Wi-Fi on flights might be one of the worst. But because people depend on their devices much like they do oxygen and water, Delta Air Lines is giving weary travelers a reason to rejoice by permanently offering free in-flight text messaging on flights starting this weekend.
The free mobile messaging service will make Delta the first and only United States carrier to offer the amenity when it becomes available on Sunday, October 1. Compatible with iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, the free messaging will be available on all of the carrier's Wi-Fi enabled flights, including every plane with more than one cabin. All you have to do is log on through the airline's regular Wi-Fi portal, then proceed to text your friends as if you aren't barreling through the sky at 30,000 feet.
However, just because Delta is providing free text messaging on its flights, doesn't mean the luxury will extend to phone calls. But Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CBS This Morning on Wednesday that the airline would eventually like to guarantee free full-scale internet access onboard all of its flights:
"Today, we still have to charge too much because the quality is not there yet," he said. "But we'll eventually get to a point where there's free service in the air and you'll have ubiquitous service and capacity in the cabin."
The offer is part of the carrier's strategy to make it one of the more generous airlines in terms of in-flight entertainment. Delta already offers TVs on the back of every seat, in addition to free movies and TV shows. Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president and chief marketing officer thinks the gambit will curry even more favor with airline's clientele, saying in a statement:
"Coupled with our investments in seat-back screens, free entertainment and High-Speed Wi-Fi, free messaging is one more way customers can choose how to make the most of their time on Delta flights."
With all this in mind, your phone's airplane mode feature has probably never seemed so pointless.