Delta to roll out Wi-Fi on some flights

Passengers on some East Coast shuttle flights will be able to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, PDAs, or smartphones.

Delta Air Lines is expected to begin offering Wi-Fi service to its passengers on Tuesday, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The wireless service, which will enable passengers to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, PDAs, or smartphones, will cost $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours. The airline is partnering with Aircell, which also supplies in-flight Wi-Fi technology to other carriers, such as American Airlines and Virgin America.

The service will be available initially on shuttle flights between Washington's Reagan National, New York's LaGuardia, and Boston's Logan airports, according to the report.

The Atlanta-based airline plans to eventually outfit its domestic fleet of 330 aircraft with Wi-Fi, which amounts to about 60 percent of Delta's seats flown every day.

Virgin America rolled out its Gogo Inflight Internet service to passengers on a single Wi-Fi-enabled plane on November 24. By the second quarter of 2009, the company expects to offer Wi-Fi on its entire fleet of planes.

Several other airlines, including American Airlines and JetBlue, have announced similar in-flight Wi-Fi plans .

Airlines have been talking about offering in-flight broadband for years. But so far, the service hasn't really caught on. Boeing first offered a service called Connexion, which debuted in 2004 on a few international carriers, including Lufthansa, SAS, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, and Singapore Airlines.

Boeing then canceled the service in 2006 , when it was unable to find business among domestic airlines. A big problem with Connexion was that the entire system was bulky and weighed around 400 pounds, making it nearly impossible for it to be used on smaller domestic planes.

CNET News' Marguerite Reardon contributed to this report.

 

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