For years Delta Air Lines highlighted its on-board content library as a valuable part of the inflight entertainment offering. It claimed more than 1,000 planes across its fleet offering the Delta Studio streaming service, on top of the in-seat entertainment. Turns out scant few passengers streamed anything on shorter flights, however, and now the carrier is shedding that cost.
Quietly and without any public announcement, Delta has discontinued offering its Delta Studio branded streaming entertainment offering on all aircraft without seatback screens. This includes all two-class regional jets and the mainline Boeing 717.
The missing feature was first noticed by your author on a Delta Connection branded Republic
Airlines Airways-operated Embraer E170, where the entertainment option in the Wi-Fi portal was conspicuously absent. The portal’s FAQ section confirmed that the missing entertainment was no error. “We’re very sorry but Delta Air Lines is no longer offering free entertainment on this flight,” reads the answer in response to the question asking where the entertainment is located.
“Due to low usage of the Delta Studio streaming option, we have discontinued support for Delta Studio streaming to personal electronic devices previously available on a limited number of regional and Boeing 717 aircraft without seatback entertainment,” said Delta spokesperson Grant Myatt.
Delta previously announced that it will install high-speed Wi-Fi across its entire fleet by the end of 2024. And while Delta recently confirmed Viasat as the service provider for its twin-aisle fleet, no announcement has been made regarding which provider or technology it will use for these aircraft now losing the streaming IFE option. In the meantime, travelers on those flights will have neither access to entertainment on board nor access to inflight internet capable of supporting streaming content.
While the average
stage length scheduled block time of the impacted aircraft is just over 100 minutes for March 31, many of Delta’s regional jets and 717s operate significantly longer flights. For example, New York LaGuardia to Oklahoma City operated by a CRJ-900 is blocked at over four hours. Over 1,100 flights for March 31 are blocked at over an hour and a half, where passengers might start to expect entertainment options.
Delta now finds itself at a competitive disadvantage on the IFE front. All of its major competitors offer either free entertainment or free Wi-Fi (or both) on all aircraft larger than 50 seat regional jets. American, Alaska, United, JetBlue, and even Breeze offer either free entertainment or free Wi-Fi on similarly sized aircraft.
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Christine Althouse says
Delta is giving me more reasons to not want to fly with them and Ive been a loyal customer for 20yrs
Christine Althouse says
Continued*** Frankly what will Delta have to offer besides their employees who hate their jobs they give away your 1st class seats treat us like we’re bad and put us on standby in the main cabin for a 1st class flight..The ridiculous baggage fees really took the cake untill I met the.. Flight attendance that blatenly ignored you even acted annoyed if interrupted their conversation. Skymile club was such a disappointed. We arrived at beginning of lunch. Food was sparse and old needed to be replenished. NO WHERE to sit! Dirty tables or 1 person taking a table for 6 while 4 of is crammed around a table for 2. Tables everywhere dirty with empty dishes and grasses. A few of the cocktails weren’t available because they were out .. We finally make it to our destination and on the way we’re told by the attendant AND the delta app they were 15min behind so we checked in at the gate with my 88yr old grandmother and our 9yro daughter put our stuff down and went to the gift ship which was maybe 1 gate away. The wY home was a 1st class flight I also know t they page flyers. I use my phone to pay for the gift shop merchandise the delta app shows boarding has began. We leave to boars and they tell us it’s to late and have to catch the next flight which is tomorrow!!! All of luggage my gramas medical supplies!!!! We had to rent a hotel room.! Delta has gone down hill.
?? This is a very confusing comment to follow. Oh here’s a tip – Never put your meds in check in..
Paul Pollitt says
Confusing, perhaps, but surely you get the point she is making
Paul R McCluskey says
I take the point, but, clearly, she’s never flown UAL or AA.
Freq Fly says
Apologies for your bad experience, but it’s the traveler’s responsibility to ensure they’re at the gate or on the flight. I fly Delta (mostly Delta connection by Republic) 80k plus mi/yr domestically, and I don’t rely on the app to tell me my flight is boarding, it’s fairly obvious listening to the overhead announcements. The boarding process takes longer than 15 min; at “one gate away” you were easily able to make it if you were paying attention. Don’t blame the airline or others for your failure to get to a gate in a timely fashion to get on a plane with sufficient time.
It’s Republic Airways not Airlines.
Jeremy Rumble says
I guess you would call it a server box or rack … anyway, I learned from a flight attendant who had seen one that the system used to house and serve the content was actually quite huge. I can imagine it would be cheaper for them to offer in flight wifi than to pay for the extra fuel to transport the old system from place to place.
Seth Miller says
The planes still have to carry the wifi hardware on board. The incremental server size/weight for the streaming IFE is not so expensive to fly. The licensing costs for the content are likely much more significant.
If the low usage is due to poor connectivity, that would explain the why less people use the service. I have always had issues getting one of my 3 devices to connect to delta studio. I might be able to connect 33% of the time and is frustrating if I just want to relax by watching something. Now I always keep reading material available when I fly delta because of this.
Seth Miller says
The company didn’t provide any explanation or justification for the low usage. The connection shouldn’t be too much of an issue, as the system is wholly contained on the plane; it didn’t use the link to the ground (which is very limited with the old ATG gear). But that doesn’t mean it always worked great.
Hunter monger says
Seth Miller says
Bring it back! Its relaxing and somehow made the overly expensive ticket seem a little more worth it!
Anthony Geinopolos says
My advice is to never rely on inflight entertainment (on any carrier) download several movies or episodes of shows on your device of choice. You will never be without inflight entertainment ever again.
Joe Travante says
I never streamed because I was never able to connect to the free Wi-Fi. For the first four or so times I tried I couldn’t get it to work. Same thing with TMobiles free WiFi offer. If no one can use the service you can’t blame it on the product.