Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

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catdude
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Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by catdude » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:15 pm

Howdy Bogleheads -

Late this month I'm gonna be taking a couple of cross-country flights on Delta. It's been about 2 1/2 years since the last time I got on a plane. Back then, as I recall, the quality of the wifi was pretty lousy. I basically couldn't get it to work. I'm just wondering if onboard wifi has gotten any better in the meantime. Is it reliable? Does it cut in & out? I'd appreciate it if y'all could satisfy my curiosity about this.

Another related question -- do airlines nowadays provide USB ports or AC sockets at each seat?

Thnx in advance....
catdude | | "As much as cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens." (Abraham Lincoln)

greenflamingo
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by greenflamingo » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:20 pm

Seatguru.com is your best bet for figuring out if you will have outlets. Most larger delta planes do.

GoGo is pretty good. Worse if there are a lot on business travelers. You can browse and do email.

AZAttorney11
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by AZAttorney11 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:23 pm

If you're on Delta, the availability of an outlet will depend on your route, type of aircraft, and class of service (Delta One, Comfort +, Main Cabin, etc.) Generally speaking, if you're on a cross country Delta flight you'll have an outlet or USB portal (and potentially both).

As far as WiFi availability, you shouldn't have any issues with Delta, but you never know.

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catdude
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by catdude » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:40 pm

greenflamingo wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:20 pm
Seatguru.com is your best bet for figuring out if you will have outlets. Most larger delta planes do.

GoGo is pretty good. Worse if there are a lot on business travelers. You can browse and do email.
Thanks for the tip on seatguru. Definitely a handy website. I'll be on 737-900's and it looks like I'll have both AC & USB outlets.
catdude | | "As much as cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens." (Abraham Lincoln)

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ResearchMed
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:53 am

catdude wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:40 pm
greenflamingo wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:20 pm
Seatguru.com is your best bet for figuring out if you will have outlets. Most larger delta planes do.

GoGo is pretty good. Worse if there are a lot on business travelers. You can browse and do email.
Thanks for the tip on seatguru. Definitely a handy website. I'll be on 737-900's and it looks like I'll have both AC & USB outlets.
Do be aware that the actual equipment might change. I mention this so you aren't absolutely counting on having the power supply, etc.

Is that "737-900" by any chance one of the 737 Max planes that is currently grounded?
If so, then you have a "better chance" of different plane, as it's been announced that they won't be back in service for a few more weeks - and who knows what that really means...

RM
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:11 am

catdude wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:15 pm
Howdy Bogleheads -

Late this month I'm gonna be taking a couple of cross-country flights on Delta. It's been about 2 1/2 years since the last time I got on a plane. Back then, as I recall, the quality of the wifi was pretty lousy. I basically couldn't get it to work. I'm just wondering if onboard wifi has gotten any better in the meantime. Is it reliable? Does it cut in & out? I'd appreciate it if y'all could satisfy my curiosity about this.
Last time I tried onboard wifi (and it's been a couple of years in my case as well), my experience pretty much matched yours. I haven't tried it lately either, but I did look at their literature on board last time I flew (last month), and it seems that, if you want to reach out farther than the plane itself to browse or read email, it'll be a pay-as-you-go service, i.e. not free.
Another related question -- do airlines nowadays provide USB ports or AC sockets at each seat?
Some do, some don't. It pretty much depends on the plane and on class of seating. We flew to Las Vegas last month for DW's birthday. The Canadair regional jet from home to Atlanta had neither. The plane from Atlanta to Las Vegas had both USB ports and AC outlets at our seats (which were in Comfort+ seating).

By the way, if you're contemplating using the AC outlet on the plane to run a medical device (oxygen generator or some such), you should read this page from the Delta website. I always bring my home CPAP machine with me on flights, but I never try to use it on board, so I had never run across any of the restrictions in that page.
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bryanm
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by bryanm » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:53 am

It depends on the flight. Traditional Gogo WiFi is pretty spotty, and can be frustrating. However, some Delta flights have been upgraded to 2Ku high-speed WiFi. The link shows that it's available on 737-900 flights (which is not a "737 Max" plane, BTW), but I'm not sure if that's all flights. On the one 2Ku flight I've flown, the WiFi experience was fantastic. 15+ Mbps as advertised.

TravelGeek
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:02 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:53 am
Is that "737-900" by any chance one of the 737 Max planes that is currently grounded?
Delta doesn’t have any Maxes, so no :)

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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:06 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:02 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:53 am
Is that "737-900" by any chance one of the 737 Max planes that is currently grounded?
Delta doesn’t have any Maxes, so no :)
Nice to know.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Frequent flyers: quality of airline onboard wifi?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:09 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:02 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:53 am
Is that "737-900" by any chance one of the 737 Max planes that is currently grounded?
Delta doesn’t have any Maxes, so no :)
Thanks.

Then that model plane is less likely to be substituted, although it's still possible, even if not likely.
Just be aware IF you must have power (and bring some sort of alternate power source if necessary).

RM
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