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Google Chrome to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi

The holiday promotion will outfit three airlines from Nov. 20 to Jan. 2

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
November 8, 2010
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1375

Few things in life are as predictably irritating as holiday travel.  There will be an airport stampede the night before Thanksgiving, there will be carolers in the terminals who manage to work the airline name into every Christmas song they sing, and the prices will make you cry.  And there is nothing you can do about it.  But this year, Google is doing its part to make holiday travel a little more palatable.  The Google Chrome team announced Monday morning that it has partnered with Virgin America, Delta Airlines, and AirTran to provide free in-flight Wi-Fi throughout the holiday season.

This marks the second year in a row that Google has offered this promotion.  Last year, Google teamed up with Virgin America to offer free Wi-Fi on domestic flights throughout the holiday season.  Had I known about this promotion last year (why didn’t I know about this?!), I would’ve flown exclusively with Virgin America when making my several cross-country flights, so it’s little wonder that Delta and AirTran want to get on board as well. 

The promotion, which lasts from November 20, 2010 to January 2, 2011, is expected to affect 15 million passengers on over 700 planes.  Last year, the promotion also extended to 50 airports so that travelers could escape the torment of holiday travel if only for a few minutes as they waited to board.

“We are constantly working to help provide a better web experience to users around the world,” said Sundar Pichai, VP of Product Management at Google, in the company’s announcement.

Throughout the rest of the year, Virgin America offers in-flight Wi-Fi for $12.95 on flights that are three hours or more, in addition to power outlets at every seat.

Delta, which began offering in-flight Wi-Fi in fall 2008, currently operates the largest fleet of Wi-Fi enabled aircrafts.  Of the 15 million passengers that Google Chrome expects to reach this holiday season, some 11 million are expected to go through Delta.

"Our holiday promotion with Google's Chrome browser team allows us to offer our customers free Wi-Fi as a small token of appreciation while also making it easier for them to squeeze last-minute shopping into their hectic schedules or connect with family members as they head home for the holidays,” said Tim Mapes, Delta’s senior VP of marketing, in Delta's press release.

Delta also has plans to spend $2 billion to bring full-flat beds to the BusinessElite class on overseas flights, as well as audio and video on-demand throughout the Economy class on international flights.

 Image source: hothardware.com


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