Delta Air Lines is flipping the switch on free mobile messaging inflight starting 1 October 2017. The service, delivered in conjunction with inflight connectivity partner Gogo, allows for complimentary access to iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other text-based apps. The upgrade will be available on all Delta flights with the Gogo service installed, more than 500 in total.
We know many of Delta’s customers want or need to stay connected in the air and on the ground, which is why we’re investing in an easy, free way to send and receive messages inflight through some of the most popular global platforms. – Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Delta is the largest airline to deploy the Gogo Messaging product for free to passengers but not the first. That honor goes to Alaska Airlines which introduced the same offer at the beginning of the year. Delta’s version (obviously) covers a much larger fleet and passenger population. T-Mobile customers also have access to free messaging on US-based Gogo carriers thanks to its Wingman program/partnership with Gogo.
Free connectivity, even just for basic services is great news for passengers. It also is generally good news for service providers as it increases customer familiarity with the inflight connectivity product and offers an upsell opportunity to increase revenue. Gogo has not been shy in the past in talking about its efforts to grow its revenue base from multiple sources rather than just passengers and this sort of deal is significant on that front.
It also differs from the “15 minutes free” type of program that has been used in the past and which turned out to be relatively unsuccessful in converting from free to paid users. Rather than buy more access passengers just used what they needed and logged off. And that may still be the case with the mobile messaging solution, but this keeps passengers engaged for the full flight rather than just a few minutes, likely improving the onboard experience (wile also consuming less bandwidth).
The additional free connectivity service also draws some attention to the growing chasm in inflight connectivity availability around the world. The US market is sufficiently mature as to offer multiple revenue models (e.g. free high-speed on JetBlue, teaser rates, monthly subscriptions, 3rd party sponsored, etc.) and an evolution of services in play. In most other global markets just getting the hardware on board is still the name of the game. It is informative to see which new programs launch with various pricing and service levels to see what “lessons learned” are being adopted and what differences operators see in the markets.
More from APEX Expo 2017
- Faster wifi flying on Singapore 777s
- Adventures in PreCheck: Fixing a broken PNR
- Gogo Vision Touch IFE to launch on Delta’s CSeries in 2018
- Mobile messaging to be free on Delta flights
- Philippine Airlines goes GX; faster wifi coming soon
- AirAsia firms high-speed connectivity plans
- Inflight connectivity coming to Interjet
- Netflix wants your inflight wifi to be free, but…
- Global Eagle’s Ka connectivity takes flight
- Airbus’ Airspace A320s to Launch with JetBlue
- Boeing v Airbus on spaciousness and in-flight comfort
- Air Europa’s streaming upgrade: Next-gen from BoardConnect
- XTS is dead. Long live XTS. Panasonic sees "radical change" coming
- Delivering big PaxEx improvements over a low bandwidth connection
- When the IFE system can watch you back
- Can a new recline reshape long-haul economy travel?
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