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Delta offers $9.95 access to Internet

By Nicole C. Wong
Globe Staff / December 15, 2008
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Delta Air Lines Inc. is giving productivity hounds and online addicts one more reason to use its shuttle service between Boston and New York or Washington: in-flight wireless Internet access.

Starting tomorrow, the carrier will offer Gogo Inflight Internet service for $9.95 per flight. It plans to have four of its eight shuttle planes wired for Aircell's service this week; the rest are expected to be ready next week.

Starting in January, Delta will add WiFi service to the rest of its fleet at a rate of about four aircraft per week. That means most plane on domestic routes will have service by May 31.

The company also plans to offer WiFi on Northwest Airlines planes. The two airlines are in the process of merging. For flights longer than three hours, the service will cost $12.95; under three hours the price will be $9.95.

There will be some restrictions: Delta will block websites containing pornography or other content it deems inappropriate to view in public. Internet phone calls will be also be blocked, to comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules.

The airline hopes WiFi will make its shuttle service more attractive to business travelers who need Internet access. Many favor Amtrak because they can use their own WiFi and cellphone services aboard the trains.

"We would hope that would make us more competitive," said Chris Babb, Delta's product manager of in-flight entertainment and media. "It's been the most requested product that our customers have asked for over the last couple of years."

Nicole C. Wong can be reached at nwong@globe.com.

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