Delta to begin offering free in-flight texting for passengers

(CNN Money) — You’ll soon be able to text on any Delta flight for free.

Delta flights worldwide will have free texting through a Gogo app, starting Sunday.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian announced the news on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday.

“We want our customers when they’re flying to stay connected,” Bastian said.

Free messaging will be available on Gogo-enabled Delta flights for planes with two or more cabins. Travelers will be able to access the feature through Delta’s Wi-Fi portal page, airborne.gogoinflight.com.

Delta has 1,300 planes worldwide and all but 130 of them have Wi-Fi, according to a Delta spokeswoman.

Gogo is a popular in-flight internet and entertainment service used by airlines. Gogo’s pricing for Wi-Fi on flights varies depending on the plan, but Delta customers will not have to pay for Wi-Fi access for texting.

Delta passengers can message via iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. But the service is only available for text use and does not support sending photo or video files, according to a Delta statement.

When asked if in-flight calls would be next for Delta, Bastian said “never in my lifetime.”

The company said in a press release the move is the first by a U.S. global carrier, which it defines as a U.S.-based airline operating trans-oceanic routes.

The effort is part of Delta’s multi-billion dollar investment in the “customer experience.” Airlines are looking to lure customers by providing perks like free messaging.

Earlier this week, Netflix said it will offer its low-broadband mobile technology to airline carriers in early 2018.

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