According to Delta, it will be the first U.S. domestic carrier to deploy Wi-Fi across its entire mainline and regional aircraft fleets with two...

Delta Air Lines is adding onboard Wi-Fi to 223 regional jets operated by Delta Connection carriers, expanding by 40 per cent the number of Delta aircraft featuring Gogo Inflight Internet service.

According to Delta, it will be the first U.S. domestic carrier to deploy Wi-Fi across its entire mainline and regional aircraft fleets with two classes of service. Delta Air Lines completed installing Wi-Fi on all its mainline domestic aircraft earlier this month.

“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 fleet and onboard services for customers through 2013,” says Tim Mapes, Delta’s senior vice president – marketing.  “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.”

Embraer 175 N207JQ of Delta Connection carrier Shuttle America taxies out to the holding point for the take-off runway at New York LaGuarida Airport

Installations of Wi-Fi on Delta Connection jets will begin in January and will be complete by the end of 2011, Delta says. Once installation is complete, customers flying on all Delta domestic flights with a First Class cabin will have Wi-Fi access, including service on every Delta Shuttle flight between New York LaGuardia and Boston, Chicago O’Hare and Washington, D.C.

Delta began installing Wi-Fi on domestic mainline aircraft in 2008, becoming the first airline to announce plans for inflight Internet service on all domestic aircraft.  With 549 mainline aircraft and the addition of 223 regional jets to the Wi-Fi program, more than 80 per cent of Delta’s domestic fleet – or 772 aircraft – will feature Gogo Inflight Internet access.

Delta Connection aircraft featuring First Class cabins include Embraer 175s, Bombardier CRJ700s and Bombardier CRJ900s  operated by Delta Connection carriers. The aircraft feature between nine and 12 seats in First Class and between 56 and 64 seats in Economy.

In addition to Wi-Fi, Delta has taken a number of steps to align service fully between Delta Connection and mainline flights.  Recent improvements have included adding First Class cabins to 66 additional CRJ700 jets; introducing meal service in First Class on regional jets; adding china, linen and silverware to Delta Connection First Class cabins and installing more jetbridges at Delta hubs to reduce ground-level boarding of regional jets.

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year, offering service to 351 destinations in 64 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 75,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft.

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