Various airlines announce perks for the new year

Delta announces free WiFi, Southwest gives away 25,000 frequent flyer miles after mayhem forcing the company to cancel most of its flights.
Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 10:21 AM MST|Updated: Jan. 8, 2023 at 10:28 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — After a slew of bad travel headlines over the holidays, the airlines are offering perks to passengers in the new year.

Delta Airlines is about to offer free WiFi for all passengers on its planes. By February, 80% of domestic Delta flights will have free WiFi, which you can use for streaming, web browsing and texting. By the end of 2024, free WiFi will be available on all of Delta’s smaller regional jets, too. The only “catch” is you’ll have to log into the free WiFi through Delta’s SkyMiles program, which is also free to join.

Delta Airlines made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Airline officials indicated they want to make sure the WiFi signal is strong enough so that all passengers will be able to stream and browse without glitchy delays. JetBlue Airlines was the first to debut free WiFi for passengers in 2017, but Delta is the first of the big three American airlines to roll it out for passengers.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines is still hoping passengers remember the unique perks it offers in the wake of the company’s Christmas week debacle. The airline lost more than $800 million after more than 16,000 flights were canceled between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2. Still, Southwest has a loyal base of passengers because of their hassle-free, “no fee” flight changes and free checked luggage. In addition to a series of apologies, Southwest gave impacted passengers 25,000 frequent flyer miles. While the airline says that mileage amounts to $300, you can stretch those miles to as many as five free flights if you search around and wait for the best deals.

Flights to Denver and Las Vegas are under 5,000 miles, round trip, for certain weekends in February. You can find flights to San Francisco, San Diego, and Salt Lake City for around 10,000 miles round trip.

If you’ve never been to Salt Lake City, I’d definitely recommend a visit. Utah is an under-rated state, which is full of diverse, natural beauty. Consider a drive from Salt Lake to a stunning, little-known spot called Bentonite Hills, featuring Utah’s stunning rainbow mountains. Renting a car from Salt Lake’s airport is easy and efficient, making Utah a great destination to begin a family road trip.

Those 25,000 free miles can also get you to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, June 13-19. Summer is a great time to visit Governors Island for beautiful Manhattan views. Plus, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a frequent NYC traveler, these are some of the best non-touristy things to do in Manhattan. Internationally, you can use those 25,000 miles to fly to Belize for 24,500 miles April 11-18, or Cancun March 21-28.