Delta expands in-flight Wi-Fi, entertainment services

Delta Air Lines launched new in-flight entertainment options for customers on Wednesday, said a spokesman for the airline.

Paul Skrbec said the improvements are wireless movies and television on demand on Boeing 757-300 aircraft, and more content choices on entertainment systems for Airbus A330 aircraft and Delta Connect, which is a new in-flight portal for passengers using Wi-Fi on Delta flights. This is part of its $2 billion investment in the flying experience.

"Customer demand is evolving every day and Delta is ahead of the game, delivering on customer preferences as it relates to technology and innovation," said Bob Kupbens, vice president of eCommerce for Delta. "Whether through our mobile apps, Wi-Fi on soon-to-be more than 800 aircraft, or a more comprehensive and customer-friendly delta.com experience, Delta is delivering."

A Gogo Wi-Fi purchase is not required to use Delta Connect or entertainment on demand, explained officials.

Delta Connect, an in-flight Wi-Fi portal, was developed by the airlines and Gogo LLC, its onboard wireless provider, according to officials. The Wi-Fi portal will offer a wider range of free content for passengers including more options for entertainment, shopping and flight and destination information.

Patrons will also access Delta Connect partners that offer information about concerts, festivals, events, and news and entertainment related to their destination. The partners include web sites Gilt.com, a member-only luxury brand site and OpenTable.com, a site for restaurant reservations.

Through on-board Wi-Fi, Delta is introducing entertainment on demand, a new in-flight feature, said Skrbec. This feature will be available on 16 Boeing 757 aircraft operated by the airline juggernaut. Passengers will be able to purchase TV shows starting at 99 cents and available movies for $3.99, he said.

Officials said titles can be sorted by genre, length of feature, movie or show and other categories. Passengers will be able to view trailers prior to purchasing the rental.

Skrbec said unfinished movies or shows that are rented on flights will remain accessible on the customer's personal device after landing for at least 24 hours. People will be able to playback the content of unexpired rentals while on land.

This feature will be available for laptops and will expand to tablets and mobile devices for Delta's Boeing 757-300 aircraft by early 2012, said officials.

Delta's total fleet of 32 Airbus A330 aircraft will get their in-flight entertainment system redesigned to offer more choices, by the end of the year. This will expand to the rest of Delta's fleet of nearly 300 aircraft with personal in-flight entertainment by mid-2012.

The system will include easier navigation and 150 percent more movies, TV, music and game offers. A new feature in the system will offer a "Delta Sky Kids" section which has content for families and is designed for young travelers.