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Free messages onboard

Free messages onboard

Now you can send messages from your cellphone for free at 35,000 feet, thanks to more airlines that offer WiFi.

There were some times -recently by the way-, when you have to pay for an extra luggage at the airline counter. Now Delta Airlines began allowing passengers to use its WiFi system to send free messages on third-party apps, such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.

Passengers can do so on their smartphones, laptops or tablets. (Mobile-network services, like 4G, tend to be unreliable after lift off). Delta is following the lead of Alaska Airlines, which rolled out a similar service earlier this year, as the Los Angeles Times reports, and American Airlines which announced its own plans to offer messaging in the near future.

But this is only the carrot to get you. Sadly, this is still a far cry from a free internet service. Airlines still charge for browsing and they have a strong incentive to do so.

That is because those charges contribute to the whopping $45bn in passenger fees that airlines around the world collected last year.

Airlines like Delta and American have been introducing satellite internet, as opposed to the current systems which work by planes relaying signals to and from networks on the ground.

In the past, carriers have been slow to add satellite internet because installing an antenna on the outside of a plane increases drag and thereby fuel costs. But often where satellite internet is used, internet speeds are much faster. Soon, connections may be robust enough to allow all passengers to browse simultaneously