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Delta to add Wi-Fi to 223 regional jets

By Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Delta Air Lines, which has the world's largest hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, recently announced it will add onboard Wi-Fi to all of its 223 regional-jet aircraft, operated by various carriers through Delta Connection, said a spokesman for Delta Air Lines.

Paul Skrbec, said the jets will provide passengers with Gogo Inflight Internet access, expanding the number of Delta aircraft providing this feature by 40 percent. In addition, Delta will become the first domestic carrier to spread Wi-Fi across its entire mainline, and regional aircraft fleets with two classes of service, he said.

"Adding Wi-Fi capabilities to our two-class regional jets marks another milestone in our efforts to invest more than $2 billion to enhance our airport facilities, aircraft fleets and onboard services for customers through 2013," added Tim Mapes, senior vice president of marketing for Delta Air Lines, in a prepared statement.

"We continue to make significant progress in aligning the products and services offered by our regional airline partners, so that Delta customers have an experience consistent with that available aboard Delta's mainline fleet," continued Mapes.

Skrbec said installations of Wi-Fi on Delta's regional-jet aircraft will begin in January, and will continue until the end of next year.

Once the installations are completed, passengers flying on all of Delta's domestic flights will be able to enjoy and experience Wi-Fi, according to Skrbec.

Currently, passengers will be aware if their flight includes Wi-Fi access through announcements at the boarding gate, and advertisements on the airplane, including seatback cards and overhead placards, Skrbec said.

In addition, Delta completed installing Wi-Fi on all of its mainline domestic aircraft in early November, said Skrbec. Delta has a total of 549 aircraft in its mainline fleet, he said.

"With 549 mainline aircraft and the addition of the 223 regional jets to the Wi-Fi program, more than 80 percent of Delta's domestic fleet--or 772 aircraft--will feature Gogo Inflight Internet access," said Skrbec.

Skrbec said Delta partnered with Aircell, the world's leading provider of airborne communications, for its Gogo Inflight Internet service.

Inflight purchases for Wi-Fi access on a laptop range from $4.95 for a single flight lasting up to an hour and 50 minutes, to $12.95 for a single flight lasting over three hours, according to Gogo Inflight Internet's web site, www.gogoinflight.com. Furthermore, for mobile-phone users, in-flight prices range from $4.95 for a single flight lasting up to an hour and 50 minutes, to $7.95 for a flight over an hour and 50 minutes.

"Customer usage rates vary by day of the week, time of day and length of flight," said Skrbec, in an e-mailed statement. "Delta creates value for its customers by offering a desired service at a reasonable cost."

According to Delta Air Lines' web site, www.delta.com, currently for the month of December alone, the airlines had 983 peak-day departures from Hartsfield-Jackson, to 220 destinations worldwide.

Most of the world's busiest airport is located in Clayton County.