CES 2023: Delta Sync Brings More Digital Services to Travel

Free WiFi, expansive entertainment and other digital updates are coming to Delta flights

At CES 2023, Delta announced upcoming offerings that include free WiFi, Delta Sync, a new in-flight entertainment platform and a new user experience on screen—all in an effort to continue evolving their customer-focused business. While there will be more features available to passengers, the ultimate goal for Delta is to remove and reduce elements that make flying stressful.

Courtesy of Delta

Ranjan Goswani (a longtime leader at Delta guiding their customer experience team) tells us, “Remove friction and all of a sudden your whole attitude toward travel changes. How do you make things more predictable? How do you make things more seamless? Our job is to start to remove stuff [that gets in the way]. You need to stay connected, you’re traveling, it can be stressful, you’ve got a lot of people to keep in touch with. We’re making that easier for you.”

First there’s free WiFi for all Delta SkyMiles members starting 1 February and already in place in some planes. It’s free to join SkyMiles, and not a surprise that letting Delta get to know you is a primary driver for improving customer experience. Delta was one of the first to outfit its fleet with the first-generation of in-flight WiFi, which today is often an expensive and frustrating experience. Goswani says, “Though we carry half a million people a day, every time you log in with us, Delta knows you. That’s that’s the aspiration. But this is the foundation that we’re building to hopefully unlock that [knowledge].”

by Evan Orensten

The next generation, already in place in a substantial number of Delta’s domestic fleet, is faster and more reliable. All new planes are delivered with it, and remaining planes (including Delta Connection planes) will continue to be upgraded as they enter service. By the end of 2024 their entire fleet will be operating the new WiFi service, including all long-haul planes. T-Mobile is already a Delta partner and has been offering free WiFi on phones in flight to customers. Part of the announcement is T-Mobile’s increased partnership, now offering free WiFi onboard to all passengers on all flights and all devices.

Courtesy of Delta

The onboard user experience will also be upgraded with Delta Sync’s exclusive hubs. When passengers are onboard and logged into the WiFi, they can access a personalization hub featuring special offers and entertainment. The beta version, for instance, includes free access to The New York Times Games, destination guides by Atlas Obscura, food recommendations from Resy and other offerings from Paramount+ and American Express.

The third component of this improved in-flight experience Delta is a redesigned user experience, adding new personalized features and equipping the screens to resemble something closer to a smart TV. The full integration is slated to roll out by the end of the year, and initial features include connection and recognition of SkyMiles Members, food and beverage ordering for First Class, a journey planner, binge button, real-time notifications and content recommendations. “It’s really about making sure that the whole cabin is connected,” Goswani says. “WiFi is the key to making that connection, but membership ultimately drives the personalization value.”

Hero image courtesy of Delta