Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

It Is Official--Wi-Fi Is On The Way!

dridley
Not applicable

Hello everyone!  You probably saw the title of this blog post and thought, “haven't I heard that before?”  True, the road to onboard wi-fi has been a long one, but this week we took a major step that gets us closer to rolling out the system fleetwide.  We ended the equipment "testing" phase and signed an equipment purchase contract with our wi-fi provider, Row 44. That means we now begin the process of getting equipment ordered and aircraft scheduling in place to begin our full fleet installation.

We’ll begin installing the equipment in the second quarter of 2010.  We expect to install equipment on around 15 aircraft per month initially, with the goal of increasing that number to 25 aircraft a month as we ramp up the process.  With this schedule, we estimate that our full fleet of more than 540 planes will be outfitted with wi-fi service by early 2012.

So, on to the next pressing issue… what will it cost to connect?.  We don’t have an answer to that quite yet.  We’re still testing a variety of price points on the four aircraft that currently have wi-fi.  We’ll have a decision on price in the second quarter of 2010—rest assured that, just like our fares, it will be a great value. You can count on it!

We’re excited about this new inflight amenity and we promise it will be well worth the wait! We’ll have more updates along the way, but, in the meantime, keep booking those Southwest flights! Your chances of traveling on a wi-fi plane will increase soon!  (And don’t worry, we won’t tell your boss that you've been surfing the Internet.)  😉

457 Comments
Anonymous2287
Not applicable
I'm not interested in Wi-Fi at all and shouldn't have to pay more for something I don't want or use so that others can have it free. Flying is when I get to read a book and I like the quiet time. I hope that everyone will be required to turn off the volume.
Anonymous1000
Not applicable
yes, please allow us to use some drink tickets for this service - I do not drink, yet have years and years of earned drink tickets that are useless to me, and I don't feel responsible just giving away alcohol to fellow passengers or crew when I have no idea of their backgrounds. Let us send this in and trade for something we can actually use if we don't drink alcohol or want to drink monster energy drinks. Another idea would be to make it free for A-list or allow us to use some rapid reward awards to purchase a number of hours to use it
Dave_Skalka
Not applicable
I can understand charging extra - you are fighting in a world where people compare fare to fare and don't think about that extra service (but love you for keeping bags free), and there are many who will not use it and would consider it unfair if it is priced into the fare. But, having said that, for those of us that would use it, it has to be something very reasonable particularly on < 2 hour flights, like no more than $2. Particularly on short flights it doesn't make sense to pay much -- just wait until landing. Maybe the cost of a drink on longer flights. I agree with the poster above that you really need to cram down on people who try to violate the onboard bag size limitations. I get for PR that you want to be all smiles and not keep someone off a flight for it, but you should charge if they try it. I say $20. That would help keep wi-fi low, fares low, stop them from trying it ever again, and keep the sanity of those of us who follow the rules and check in our big bags.
Anonymous3438
Not applicable
Wi-Fi needs to be free and so much for all of that interrupting aircraft navigation like the cell phone thing. Although, I have to admit I don't want to listen to someone talking on their phone the whole flight. I vote for FREE WI-Fi.
Jim_Panagas
Not applicable
I'm a frequent business traveler and am delighted to hear that Southwest will be adding wi-fi to its flights later this year. I would have to agree with some of the other people who have commented so far - it would be WONDERFUL and a powerful marketing message if the airline decided to offer this service for free. I already rave about your airline, but if you were were to offer wi-fi for free I'd really have something to crow about.
Denise
Not applicable
I just want to let SWA know that we love,love,love them. Only airline my husband and myself fly as well as our grown children, their spouses and children only fly Southwest. No charge to change flights is at the top of our list. Next would be no charge for bags. I can never seem to pack light. I guess it's a female thing, Delays have been rare, flight attendants are wonderful, helpful and most are quite funny. Keep up the good job and if I want to make use of WiFi I don't have a problem with a fair price for it. Flying from MHT to BWI I wouldn't even bother taking along my laptop for 1 hr. 15 min. but from MHT to TPA I would definitely pay for it. Southwest, you rock!!
Ben_Marbury
Not applicable
You guys are great. We all know is cost money to do stuff. It is just one more reason I will fly SWA. Maybe the increased ridership will pay for it! Just stay ahead of the pack!
Marcie
Not applicable
We used the wi-fi on a trip from Albuquerque. Certainly made the trip faster. The plane is tracked so you can see where you are on the map as you look out the window. Fun. It was $10.
Dave_Doolittle
Not applicable
Ask your managers who will handle WiFi if they have ever done tech support ? Because if you insist on not having an open network and going with one that is password-protected, I am here to tell you that on every single flight, you will end up having at least one angry passenger whose laptop cannot connect to your network! He/She will be irate and make a scene, having paid good money for your xxxx network and now it's not working, etc etc. .....putting your flight attendants in the role of computer tech support technicians. Do you really want this? I'm on the board of our local library and we specifically elected to keep our wifi network open to avoid having our librarians being put in this annoying position day after day! Not every laptop will connect to a password-protected network for a variety of stupid reasons, reasons your staff won't want to have to worry about.
Anonymous3316
Not applicable
How about giving WiFi passes instead of drink cards to frequent flyers. I have hundreds of unused drink cards. Nerds over lushes! (Sorry, Herb!)
Linda_FtWrth
Not applicable
One Price - add the charge in the ticket, NO nickel dime thing. Love Southwest!
Andrew14
Not applicable
Noooooooooooooooooooooooo SKYPE! Please, please, please, please BAN ALL VOIP... otherwise you are going to have 25 people chatting on the plane at once (sorta like having Cell Phones in mid-air.). Otherwise, just another reason to choose the greatest airline up there!
Cherry
Not applicable
SWA is awesome. As a person who flies with you almost every week I think it should be free for A list and buisness class. Keep the low fares and free bags. I want to thank you for all the free trips you have given me too. They have been a great help to me when I am not flying on buisness. Thanks SWA for all you do for us frequent flyers.
MIKE_B
Not applicable
they'll be a charge just like the $10 ripoff to try to board first. so lets see my flight 80% of people pay $10 to board early and i end up with a c boarding .stupid idea. let us pick seats when we bye our tickets. this is why i am cancelling my southwest credit card.at least with some other airlines i pay for one bag but i know my wife and kids are sitting together.what ever happen to southwest cheap fares .manchester to san diego this summer over $400 a person and you don't know where you sit. i used to fly swa only .not any more.
JN__RR_member
Not applicable
1. Provide power source for laptop. 2. Charge for use, not increase on every ticket. 3. Allow coupons to work for either drink or WiFi. 4. Utilize RR member # as logon ID.
susetnhusky
Not applicable
I saw a great idea suggested by someone use drink tickets but take it one step further, when someone earns or purchases drink tickets give them the option for either the "booklet" of drink tickets or wi-fi access tickets. Share the LUV.
Steve_SWA_frequ
Not applicable
I will LUV this service. PLEASE require that everyone using laptops, etc, either mute the volume or use headphones.
Anonymous1139
Not applicable
One of the main things I like about SW is the time to be able to read and now you are going to spoil it with WiFI! Why should I be forced to sit next to someone who will be tapping away and probably elbowing the armrest. Isn't it bad enough for the back of my seat to be kicked or the person in front of me putting their seat all the way back? Why are passengers who want to sit in peace going to be subjected to those people who can't live a few hours without their computers. As it is some people already are not considerate of their fellow passengers and talk too loud and often during the entire flight. If I am unfortunate to sit near them, not only are they annoying and rude but I have a hard time concentrating on what I am reading. Further I don't want to sit next to anyone if there is any online noise and absolutely NO CELL PHONES OR VOID EVER ALLOWED inside the plane. Lastly, I don't want my ticket price increased to pay for others to use WiFi which I strongly object to being allowed on the plane in the first place so they can have it free!
John_DeMayo
Not applicable
WIFI is super important to me. I would be much more likely to fly Southwest more often with WIFI on board, and even fly more in general (since I can then bill for my time in the air). Also, many laptops only last an hour or two on battery. Can you install power outlets as well? That would be huge!
Celia
Not applicable
I think WiFi should be built into the ticket price or be free. This would just another great reason to fly Southwest. You should also revisit the idea of letting us preselect our seats when we purchase our tickets. You conducted a survey a few years ago but you should do it again. I bet the answer would be different now.
Anonymous2919
Not applicable
Given my current financial state and the fact that I would enjoy wi-fi on a plane but could cheerfully live without it - I'd rather shave the bucks off my ticket and let those that want it pay for it. But adding ten bucks to the cost of a SW ticket that includes free wifi and free bags is still cheaper than the competition so... I'll probably be happy either way! 😄
Anonymous1972
Not applicable
Charge for the service. I don't mind paying for it if I want to use it but I don't think everyone should pay to subsidize the service.
Leonard_Miller
Not applicable
Free is always great.... But a flat rate of like $5 would be great.... Also add it to the ticket price.... Giving the person a user name & pin number to enter. that way no credit cards have to be pulled out of wallets and purses. This is a good fraud prevention or lost cards on the aircraft.... Peolple alwys lose somethings even wallets on Aircraft.
Anonymous2614
Not applicable
The weekend fair from PHX-LAX has almost double the price. PLEASE keep it at 49.95 like before, I will certainly pay for Wi-FI ...I can hardly afford flying every week...
Doc
Not applicable
SWA cannot give everything away, but the pricing for this service should be reasonable. I rather fly SWA than any other airline. I have been doing that since the beginning.
Bill5
Not applicable
I agree it should be provided free as built-in to the rest of the costs just like bags. Your "bags fly free" is a great marketing campaign and like other people have posted, we hate to be "nickel and dimed" and that separates SW from it's competitors. In addition, because it is available free from so many other hot spots people are starting to expect it to be free . I know 35000 feet is a little different, but it is about people's perception. Keep up the great customer service and relationship and offer it free.
Anonymous1665
Not applicable
Free is the way to go to stay consistent with your Corportate MO. If this isn't possible, it should be free for frequent fliers at the very least. It should also be built in so you don't get charged twice for connecting flights.
Ellen_Jane
Not applicable
I don't think all ticket prices should increase to absorb the WiFi cost because a lot of travelers won't use it and everyone shouldn't have to pay extra for a service that only some will use....instead, I agree with some other posts here that travelers who opt for WiFi should have the option to pay for it with either cash or with drink coupons...not all of us want alcohol while flying so, whenever I accumulate some of those coupons, I would like to use them for WiFi. And, thanks for the 2 free checked bags and no change fees - 2 of the many reasons we all love flying Southwest!
V_McCarthy
Not applicable
I love Southwest and only fly Southwest. I love the flight staff, the service...everything about Southwest. I'm also a Rapid Rewards member. Each year, I travel with a large group of college students and only fly Southwest with these groups. I've done that for 13 years now and will continue to do that for years to come. I'm excited that SWA will soon have wifi. I'm with those who would like the wifi to be free. Add an extra $1 to each ticket or whatever makes sense. I don't think that's too much to ask of even those who don't use the service. It would also add another great attribute to the long list of reasons that Southwest is the BEST and only way to fly!! Thanks, SWA !!
Anonymous1850
Not applicable
Why does everyone think that they are intitled to "free"? WiFi is not cheap. You want something extra - you pay for it. If you don't want to pay for it - you don't get it!
Anonymous1546
Not applicable
Bummer on the cost. Why not sell a bunch of advertising on your wi fi and make it free? You could have a "home page" that is quite ad heavy - side and top borders etc. I fly mainly from Chicago to Florida - for the 2.5 to 3 hours, I wouldn't bother with paying for the net. Seems like a waste for all those small trips - waste of ad $$ for Southwest!
Anonymous2192
Not applicable
I am so glad that you are offering WI FI. Now to get longer lasting batteries on the laptop. Or as a revenue builder, get a fast battery charger that is able to charge most of the laptop battery in record speed. I am willing to pay a few bucks extra in the charge, knowing full well that all will be included in the rate, but I feel it is fair, as if you aren't using the computer... then most likely you may be reading airline provided magazines, or drinking provided beverages, water. Children and Parents are able to board earlier so that is a perk others don't have that never had children. Life ain't fare... Pun intended.
Curt2
Not applicable
I'd like to see wi-fi offered free. I think it fits with the image Southwest has created of providing basic airline services without nickel and diming its customers...the reason I tell my company to book me on Southwest unless I'm going to a destination Southwest doesn't serve. If free wi-fi is not feasible, then as a former A-lister and frequent business select flier, I like the idea making wi-fi free to those customers and charge a modest fee for other passengers. One idea was make it the same price as a drink and let passengers either pay the $4 by credit card or redeem a free drink coupon. Being able to use Rapid Rewards is another excellent idea Definitely block VOIP/SIP!
MrB1
Not applicable
SUPER NIIIIICE!!!
Anonymous2088
Not applicable
Don't forget to add A/C plugs too!
Anonymous3743
Not applicable
WiFi is an awesome step. For those of us that are frequent flyers, but not drinkers, I hope Southwest would consider the option to choose WiFi Tickets instead of drink tickets. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
M_1
Not applicable
The reason that it has taken this long for Southwest to have in-flight wi-fi at all is that Go-Go fought them when they wanted to price it at $4.95. The planes and the towers to which they connect to the Internet don't have the capacity that a low price-point would bring. They price the connectivity out of the range of some customers intentionally. This wi-fi is NOT what you are used to getting on the ground unless you use your smart phone for your Internet connectivity. You only get cell-speed connect AT BEST and the more customers buying it on a flight, the slower your connection will be. If you try to stream content, the Go-Go system is programmed to boot you off and make you spend a lot of time trying to reconnect so that the other passengers can use the limited bandwidth you were hogging. This is also why connectivity will never be free. They HAVE to get you to agree to their t & c (terms and conditions) so that they can then quote their rules and not give you a refund. You are far better off bringing some other form of entertainment onto the plane, unless you like sharing your bandwidth with every other passenger who purchases connectivity. Go-Go's policy is no refunds so if you have an issue, whether it is their fault or yours, all you get, if you can wangle it at all, is credit for connectivity on another flight. Enjoy!
Ron21
Not applicable
Flying Business Select, give us the choice of the drink coupons or the wi-fi.
Bob_Blackman
Not applicable
1. Add wifi to the planes that fly the longest routes first. 2. On board wifi will be brilliant! But no more than $9.99 please! 3. But we need a bit more space between the seats to open a lap top when the person in front puts their seat back Thanks, Bob
Kelly9
Not applicable
This is fantastic if you need it. I don't want to pay for others to use though. Keep the fares low and it is important to me...I will be more than happy to pay a small fee. I like Curt's idea of exchanging drink coupons or a modest fee that matches the cost of a drink or less. Most flights are not long enough for $4 to be worth it. Some are barely in the air long enough for a drink much less surfing. I am confident you will do it right and attach a fair cost to the service.
Anonymous1324
Not applicable
of course you should charge for the service, contential and delta do. Plus they also charge for bags unless you are an elite class memeber. Just remember SouthWest flights are mostly contecting flights. Maybe one change for a 24 hour period? Yes it would be great to know what flights have the service prior to making a reservation. This way we can plan ahead.
Anonymous2554
Not applicable
Yes, nice to have WiFi/drink tickets.
Anonymous3621
Not applicable
Free for A-Listers ... and only for people using HEADPHONES. I don't want to sit next to somebody watching singing squirrels on YouTube, or 6 babies laughing in bed with Mom. Peace is more important than logging on.
andy_mark
Not applicable
SWA is definitely the best. Stop the hassles and put it in the cost of the ticket or charge at the time of the purchase. You've always kept things simple, a hallmark of SWA, don't change now.
Mitch_Che
Not applicable
I would welcome wi-fi available on SW flights, but as to suggestions that SW should "raise fares" a litte to automatically include in ticket price, I STRONGLY DISAGREE. With costs for all travel rising, consider that some people do NOT WANT TO USE WiFi. Think about the reason for Southwest's DING! LOW FARES! Charge for use; do NOT charge everyone for a service that not everyone wants. I am a "A-List" customer, but I don't want to pay even a dollar more for my family's airplane tickets so other travellers can use Wi-Fi. If someone wants Wi-Fi, they should pay for it...
Anonymous3944
Not applicable
folks have said it enough but let me add my vote for "free" wifi and raise the ticket price a couple of bucks. You will still be nicely below the competition on most flights and you stay true to your one price gets it all. You have strayed from that with your $10 early on line check in which I don't use but do find irritating and out of character for SouthWest. Don't add to the irritations by nickle and dimeing us like the rest of the herd. Thanks for listening to us.
Anonymous3502
Not applicable
I do not mind paying for the convenience of WIFI. I feel that it is only fair to consider everyone and only charge those who use it. I am more concerned about the irritation of hearing, "you've got mail" from over 100 laptops. You may have to insist on earphones. And then there is the chance that someone next to you might have something displayed that you find objectionable. I feel for the flight attendants who have to collect for it and then will have to work drink service around laptops, etc. on the trays and then try to get an answer out of someone using earphones. You may want to consider having the sales of WiIFI by those at the gate desk as well as the flight attendants. These are valid points which should be considered. I think that it is a wonderful convenience for me, personally, and I hope that this does not backfire on you.
Anonymous4633
Not applicable
Southwest's new policy of asking for an additional $10 to get your boarding pass 36 hours before your flight is wrong and it's obvious that you are starting to nickle and dime people to death. In addition, I have been informed by Amex that, as of July, Southwest will no longer participate in the Membership Rewards program. I guess SW is trying to get everyone to go with their high interest credit card. You guys have a decent airline and I've been flying with you for over 10 years, but you are starting to hit your customers with the same crap the other airlines are pulling. As for the WiFi - nice touch. I agree with those who suggest it be fee based for the people who want to use it. Including it in the cost of everyone's ticket would be unfair.
Anonymous1121
Not applicable
I understand New Mexico's new "Railrunner" commuter train service has free WiFi. I'm not sure what the difference would be.
Greg29
Not applicable
Another excellent reason to fly Southwest, the only airline I use and I fly 2-3 round trips per month. Wrap it up in the price of the ticket, some can't expense it and its a headache. You are headach free remember and the wi-fi service itself will get you passengers...best way to make money. Great job though. Seriously, thanks ! Greg