Delta to Equip Larger Regional Jets With GoGo WiFi
Over the past decade, regional jets from the cramped CRJ-100/200, often nicknamed “cramped regional jet”, to the E145 have become a reality of aviation in the United States. It’s no secret major carriers started to downsize a bit more than 10 years ago and the cramped 50 seat regional jets have proliferated everywhere.
The good news is the trend is reversing with the production of larger regional jets. The small 50 seat regional jets are also a financial burden with high fuel prices. Air carriers are now adding First Class cabins to their larger regional jets including the CRJ-700, CRJ-900, and the Embraer 170 and 175. They’re by no means mainline fleet aircraft, but the passenger experience is often much better on these birds.
Delta Air Lines already has WiFi installed across its entire mainline domestic fleet and has been busy adding WiFi to the larger Regional Jets with first class cabins which often operate longer routes. Delta uses the ground based – cellular, GoGo WiFi and they’ve been busy modifying Delta’s regional jets which operate under the Delta Connection name on multiple aircraft types across seven different carriers.
The photo on the right compares the size of the E170 regional jet and the Airbus A319. The pictured E170 is operated by Compass Airlines for Delta Connection and seats 69 passengers, 60 in economy, 9 in first class. Economy class offers a 2 x 2 seating arrangement while First Class provides 1 x 2 seating. The Airbus A319, pictured behind the E170 by comparison, seats 114 in economy with a 3 x 3 layout and 12 seats in first with 2 x 2 seating for a total of 126.
According to Chris Babb, the Senior Product Manager of Customer Experience at Delta:
- Embraer 170: 95% are equipped with WiFi
- Embraer 175: 6% are equipped with WiFi
- CRJ-700: 89% are WiFi equipped
- CRJ-900: 39% are WiFi equipped
In addition to the 576 aircraft that make-up the mainline fleet, a total 134 of their regional jets now offer Internet WiFi access. An interesting statistic Babb shared was Delta has 710 Wi-Fi equipped Delta and Delta Connection aircraft which represents 50% of the world’s entire WiFi Internet equipped fleet.
On a closing note, it would be nice if the 50 seat regional jets were to receive WiFi, as they still operate some longer routes, but I don’t expect to see this happen – for the time being, at least.