Delta to offer free in-flight text messaging starting Oct. 1

A Delta Airlines plane takes off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City on August 8, 2016 in New York City. Delta announced this week that passengers will soon be able to send text messages for free while on the company's flights. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

By Sam Howard – UPI

Major U.S. carrier Delta Airlines will allow passengers to send text messages for free starting Oct. 1, the company said in a news release.

In the release Tuesday night, Delta said it would offer the free service to all passengers on its flights carrying Gogo in-flight Internet. A company spokeswoman told CNN that all but 130 of its 1,300 airplanes have Gogo capabilities.

Through Delta’s in-flight WiFi portal, passengers will be free to send text messages and messages on iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger applications while in the air.

“We know many of Delta’s customers want or need to stay connected in the air and on the ground, which is why we’re investing in an easy, free way to send and receive messages inflight through some of the most popular global platforms,” Tim Mapes, Delta’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said in the release.

Delta said it is the first U.S.-based airline that flies trans-oceanic routes to allow its passengers to send free in-flight text messages. It doesn’t meet those qualifications, but Alaska Airlines started offering free in-flight text messaging in January.