December 12, 2011, 4:54 PM

eBay flies high with Wi-Fi

The online marketplace is giving Delta passengers free web access for Christmas.

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Travelers headed to Grandma’s house by plane this holiday can squeeze in some last-minute online shopping thanks to a promotion sponsored by eBay Inc. The online marketplace is offering Delta Air Lines passengers 30 minutes of free web access on planes wired with the Gogo Inflight Internet WiFi service.

A travelers on a Wi-Fi-enabled Delta flight connects her device to the Wi-Fi network and then enters her e-mail address on an eBay promotional page to get the free access, Gogo says. In-flight web access normally ranges from $4.95 to $12.95 per flight, depending on the length of the flight, Gogo says. The eBay promotion starts today and runs through Jan. 2.

Fliers can browse the web as they choose for 30 minutes, whether that be by visiting eBay.com or other web sites. After the 30 minutes are up, fliers can continue to browse eBay.com free of charge for the duration of the flight. EBay says it hopes fliers spend their web time buying last-minute holiday gifts.

Thirty minutes may be enough time to snap up a deeply discounted item from eBay’s Deals page, which today began offering four new deals every hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central time. One such deal today included a waterproof digital camera for 41% off the suggested retail price. “Shoppers are able to access our Daily Deals while they fly, which offer deep discounts on hot products and free shipping,” says Richelle Parham, chief marketing officer of eBay North America.

EBay is not the first online shopping site to offer free Wi-Fi access in the sky. In the last year shoe e-retailer Zappos.com and catalog retailer SkyMall.com offered free web access with Gogo on Delta flights. Zappos is a unit of Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. Skymall Inc. is No. 185.

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