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Delta to test free Wi-Fi on flights

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The sky may no longer be the limit for free Wi-Fi, according to Delta.
Laura Martinez / CNET

Wi-Fi has been available on most flights for a while -- at a cost. Delta is taking steps toward offering it for free.

The Atlanta-based airline carrier will start testing free Wi-Fi service on 55 domestic flights a day starting Monday, the company said Thursday in a statement. Its current Wi-Fi plans start with a 24-hour pass for $16 if purchased prior to boarding the flight. It also offers monthly and annual internet passes.

Read more: Wi-Fi 6: Better, faster internet is coming this year -- here's everything you need to know

Before travelers on Delta start planning to binge Netflix shows for the entire flight, there are caveats to this test. The airline is limiting internet access to email, shopping, web browsing, messaging services and social media.

"Customers are accustomed to having access to free Wi-Fi during nearly every other aspect of their journey, and Delta believes it should be free when flying, too," Ekrem Dimbiloglu, director of onboard product, said in the statement. "Testing will be key to getting this highly complex program right – this takes a lot more creativity, investment and planning to bring to life than a simple flip of a switch."

Passengers will find out if their flight will offer free Wi-Fi via email or a push notification on the Fly Delta app.

Of the major airlines, JetBlue is the only one that provides free Wi-Fi on its flights.

Delta didn't immediately respond to a request for additional comment.