Delta Airlines revealed some things about their upcoming free Hawaii flight WiFi (available systemwide) that we hadn’t fully expected. Call us naive. Is this the way of all airlines’ free WiFi?
Why Delta SkyMiles account is required for free WiFi: Data Mining.
Passengers will only be able to access the new service after logging into any Delta SkyMiles. The free WiFi product is called Delta Sync. The reason is that this will allow Delta and its marketing partners with whom it shares information to collect and associate your personal data and your behavior. In other words, “data mining.”
Delta said, “Every customer should enjoy a journey that is customized and curated to their needs and preferences. By integrating with brands our customers know and love, we’re raising the bar even further to ensure every trip is fit for them.”
Okay, now we’re starting to get the picture!
Delta Sync: Personalized, curated content, like it or not.
This looks like free WiFi will be a very profitable undertaking for Delta. And what better way to do it than to call it free? Give Delta an A for creativity in marketing.
Delta says that we want personalized data, and that’s just what they plan to give us. It’s’ interesting that Delta will still offer a paid WiFi choice, apparently for those of us who don’t want advertising and data mining as part of their free WiFi service.
We are honestly anxious to try the DeltaSync service, just for the novelty, if nothing else. Will we use it? Probably, but let’s give it a try first. Would we pay $8 for WiFi to avoid ads and data mining? Probably so.
Delta is counting on the fact that few of us will notice what they’re doing and how.
The airline said Delta Sync is their “New platform of digital services and experiences that will personalize the travel journey for our customers.”
A Delta SkyMiles account is mandatory and one of the primary keys to this product’s success. This gives them and whoever they share your data with the ability to know an individual’s personal information and their specific behavior.
Here’s what is included in the Delta Sync product:
- Free wifi access (T-Mobile sponsor).
- Curated offers from American Express.
- Free streaming Paramount+ streaming by paid or trial subscription.
- Restaurant guides by Resy.
- Curated travel recommendations from Atlas Obscura.
- Free NYTimes games.
- First-class online ordering of food/beverages.
- Facial matching. For “seamless baggage drop, security and boarding without the hassle of pulling out their ID or boarding pass.”
Delta then Hawaiian are the first “free WiFi” Hawaii airlines.
Delta will be the first major US airline to introduce free Wi-Fi for all passengers. They will be followed later this year by Hawaiian Airlines. The only other US airline with free WiFi is JetBlue. Something we read in the Delta announcement but didn’t fully digest was that it is being offered in partnership with T-Mobile. So is it really free? It all depends on your perspective.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that “At work, at home and everywhere in between, connectivity is essential to daily life, and your journey on Delta should be no different. Our vision has long been to deliver an experience at 30,000 feet that feels similar to what our customers have available on the ground.” Is it really similar?
TMobile is the provider and there’s no doubt that they are anxious to get their ads on your screens.
“Sharing Your Information With SkyMiles and Promotional Partners.”
You can expect your SkyMiles account information to be available to Delta’s partners as part of the deal. There may be a way to opt-out, but that wasn’t entirely clear.