December 31, 2011, 12:00 AM

eBay takes to the skies with Wi-Fi on Delta flights for holiday shoppers

Holiday season 2011 travelers had a new option for last-minute shopping: As they flew off on holiday travels aboard a Wi-Fi-enabled Delta Air Lines plane, they could shop online with free Wi-Fi access from eBay.

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Travelers who flew off for holiday visits with family and friends last month had a new option for online shopping. If they flew a Wi-Fi-enabled Delta Air Lines plane, they could shop online with free web access from eBay Inc.

The online marketplace offered Delta Air Lines passengers 30 minutes of free Internet access on planes wired with the Gogo Inflight Internet WiFi service. The promotion was scheduled to run Dec. 12 through Jan. 2.

A traveler 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.

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 said it hoped fliers would 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 last month began offering four new deals every hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central time. One such deal offered 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 and other airlines. SkyMall also offered a similar service on some Southwest Airlines flights through Row 44, another company that offers Wi-Fi on airplanes.

allison@verticalwebmedia.com

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