Delta High Speed Wifi – Is It Good?
Delta Air Lines has been in the process of outfitting its mainline fleet with high speed WiFi for the past year or more. Gone are the days where streaming was blocked and the best you could do was surf the web and check email (useful, though that is). I hadn’t flown the carrier in a while, and on a recent flight gave the Delta high speed WiFi a test run.
While it didn’t wow me, it was weird to be watching YouTube videos miles in the sky, something I’d never done. Given the price point, Delta WiFi is likely worth it. But you’ll need to decide for yourself just how much connectivity you need, now that faster speeds are finally here.
Testing Out Delta High Speed Wifi
I’m very hit or miss with whether I purchase WiFi during a flight. It really depends on work expectations. I’d much rather crack open a book or watch a movie. This was one such flight where WiFi was truly needed, as I had an assignment to finish (before moving on to YouTube).
The cost of Delta high speed WiFi is reasonable. Only $5 for a flight pass? I’ll take that deal on a transcontinental flight. Delta still offers free messaging. If you fly a lot, you can also buy a subscription.
I purchased a flight pass for my trip from Atlanta to Sacramento. This was plenty of time to test out and use the service.
My first test was streaming a couple videos. The speed was enough to easily buffer, although there was a bit of lag initially loading the page. I was impressed.
The speed varied quite a bit over the trip, but I generally pulled 20-30 Mbps download speed, which is plenty. Occasionally, the service would cut out entirely for a minute or two, or YouTube would automatically reduce the quality if the service wasn’t able to keep up.
The second thing I tested was switching my WiFi service from my laptop to my phone. You only get one connection for the $5, but it’s quite easy to move it between devices. You have to connect to the WiFi signal on the new device an then select the transfer option. This is the device that will provide a code. Enter this code into this screen on the original device, and the Flight Pass will transfer.
The whole process was simple and easy to navigate.
At just $5 for several hours, the new Delta high speed WiFi is good enough for the price point. Sure, it isn’t a wired connection. But it is plenty fast for the sky. And gone are the days of spending $20 just to stay connected to the ground.
Delta will be rolling out the new Viasat WiFi on more than 550 aircraft by the end of 2022. This will make them one of the leaders in terms of WiFi service among the largest carriers. It’s going to be interesting to see
My concluding thoughts are these:
- At $5, the price might end up being too cheap. There’s only so much capacity for the entire aircraft, and speed will suffer if too many people are streaming at once.
- But Delta’s ultimate goal is free. And free WiFi could arrive soon. However, I’d rather have a decent paid service, than a crappy free one, so let’s hope they have the speed needed.
- The process of transferring Delta high speed WiFi service between devices is quite easy.
- Expect reasonable speeds, but some hiccups during flight. The service is good, but not flawless.