Delta considers testing in-flight connectivity on overseas flights

Los Angeles
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SkyTeam alliance member Delta Air Lines is considering trialling in-flight connectivity on overseas flights.

The US major is currently fitting its domestic fleet with Aircell's Gogo broadband service, and "we're focused on this", said Delta manager - global product development Chris Babb today at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) single focus workshop in Los Angeles.

However, while the carrier has not announced a commitment to trial overseas connectivity, Babb says he "wouldn't be surprised if we are going to do a test in 12 to 18 months".

Delta is mulling overseas connectivity at a time when Star Alliance member Lufthansa is planning to reinstate Ku-band satellite-based high-speed Internet on its overseas flights, and intends to extend the offering across its long-haul fleet. Lufthansa has contracted Panasonic Avionics to provide the connectivity solution.

Babb says a potential issue with bringing in-flight connectivity to Delta's transatlantic flights is the fact that those services usually occur in the evening "so the take rates are probably going to be lower than you'd want".

To date, Delta has equipped 420 of its domestic aircraft with Gogo, an air-to-ground (ATG)-based connectivity solution. Since the carrier launched the Wi-Fi service in 2008, it has had "more than 1 million customers" use the service, says Babb.

He says 89% of Delta customers are either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with Gogo, and 76% of Delta customers are likely to use Gogo on a future Delta flight.

"People love Wi-Fi. What's not to love," he says.