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
Anonymous4067
Not applicable
First off I LUV the "SWi-Fi" tag that another poster suggested. I vote for the free SWi-Fi access--just build it into the ticket price, if you have to. Us old retired types probably won't use it anyway, but I'd be curious on just how many passengers are using it on the existing test flights. 30%, 50%, more? Free SWi-Fi is a great selling point, just like "Bags Fly Free." Also if the flight attendants don't have to be money collectors and babysitters on the flight, that would add to efficiency--one less hassle for them to put up with. LUV Southwest. I haven't flown on some other airline in seven years.
scooter
Not applicable
Looking forward to it only if you can exclude VOIP. Some people can be very obnoxious and loud as evidenced while phones are allowed before take off and landing. Half the plane can hear their business.
Del
Not applicable
I'm disappointed to hear that your outfitting all your aircraft with WIFI and that within the metal tube I regular fly up in, I'll be forced to endure hours bombardment by Electromagnetic energy. Southwest "used" to be my favorite airline. There are those among us who are sensitive to these electromagnetic waves from things like cell phones and other wireless signals in close proximity, which can cause headaches, nausea, heart erythmias, etc. I kindly request that you not go forward with these plans, as you'll certainly loose customers who will not want to endure this discomfort. Years ago it was so nice when smoking was finally banned from airplanes. How long are we going to have to endure WIFI before it too is banned once it proven that prolonged exposure, especially in enclosed metal rooms like airplanes, is bad for one's health??
Anonymous2154
Not applicable
Free is always a good price.
seater
Not applicable
I am a business traveler that only fly's southwest, I used avoid you but was forced to use you a few times and now I will not fly any other airline unless I have no choice. Why, because you provide a fair price good on time service and you do not nickle and dime us. As a business traveler I would have to keep track of this charge for internet and put it on my expense report which means It starts to be a pain like the lugage charges at other airlines. Don't charge for this just add a couple of bucks to the ticket cost. Keep up the good luving.
Okie_Joe
Not applicable
I would prefer either advance purchase of the wi-fi or being able to use drink coupons in exchange for the service. My guess is that fewer than half of customers who get drink coupons ever use them, so that "perk" is a waste for a large percentage of your frequent fliers.
mikeyfromchicag
Not applicable
well as i have become a loyal swa flyer, hopefully it is either free or $2 bucks an hour because flying from MDW to MCO or TPA is about 2 and 1/2 hours to about 3 and 1/2 hours on a plane in a seat sitting down listening to my ipod or play a handheld gaming system is all fun and thought but it gets boring being able to take my laptop with and surf the web while 30,000 feet up in the sky that would be different and keep me from being killed by boredom, but then again it all matters on price becuase if you go above 3 or 5 bucks an hour say that 6 - 10 bucks a person just for that 2 hour flight ill boycot that and stick to my ipod cuz i really could spend my money on better things but under 5 bucks would stay pretty nice i get to check facebook, maybe watch some youtube go to a streaming site watch a tv show or 2 , and arrive in MCO unbored and ready to start my vaction at DBCR because i go from MCO or TPA then an hour car ride or bus ride to DBCR. But this is just my idea/ opinion
cevals
Not applicable
consider a subscription price
cevals
Not applicable
Consider a subscription service. CA84
Anonymous1421
Not applicable
I notice that Randall chimed in twice singing the praises of this service. Does he work for SWA? Do you get your employees to plant gratuitous comments lauding your services?
Jonas_Bare
Not applicable
YES YES Can not wait! I fly 86 times a year on SWA, and have been an A-lister for ever... FREE WIFI FOR A-LISTERS!!! Only request.... 🙂
Anonymous1922
Not applicable
Looking forward to it! It is a very important feature - an airline differentiator, in my opinion.
David7
Not applicable
I'll be flying this Friday (2/12); will you have it on by then? Would love to see it, particularly on long flights. I agree with those who are for building it into the fare (same as bags). Luv it!
Anonymous1464
Not applicable
Some of you seriously think Southwest doesn't nickle and dime us? That bags fly free? So the 4% "Segment Fee" and the 5% "Passenger Facility Fee" that I just paid, what do you call that? That's on top of the required taxes and security fees. And now the $10, each way, per person in your group, if you wish to be checked in a few hours earlier than some others, because Southwest doesn't assign seating. I agree with some who have said please do NOT tack on MORE money per ticket when not everyone will be using wifi. I agree with most who have said please don't charge extra at all. Make it an incentive to fly the not-so-inexpensive-anymore airline that I just paid $335 per round-trip ticket for. Oops, I forgot all the fees... $425 per ticket.
Anonymous574
Not applicable
Please bill it in on every flight in the fare. I want to know that I can just fly SWA and not have to worry about pulling out my charge card every time. Or, I guess you can make it a price option when buying the ticket. I don't expect it to be free. Those that want it free do not run a business. We understand you have to charge, just build it in or make it easy to purchase. maybe it is billed with "business select", but "wanna get away" has the option to pay when buying the ticket. You guys are still the best. I don't fly anyone else.
Anonymous3801
Not applicable
DO NOT INCREASE TICKET PRICES AND BUILD IT INTO THE TICKET PRICE!!!!!
Anonymous2914
Not applicable
I recently flew on Delta and loved the wifi that they offered on their flights. I didn't mind paying for it. It kept me amused for an entire transcontinental flight. I have been a Southwest Airlines flyer for years. I love your airline! Can I think fo anything to improve? Yes! 1. Your "Ding" fares need some new life! There really haven't been any creative deals on "Ding" for a long long time. Boring! 2. Your Phoenix, Arizona ground crew is very rude! Not just the ground crew but the evening supervisor especially. They need a refresher course in customer service!
Harry_v
Not applicable
Pay for WiFi as you do for cocktails. Pay the flight attendant for a code/password in 30 minute increments. Keeping the price down to $5.00 per 30 minutes would be reasonable.
Anonymous83
Not applicable
Include WIFI in the price of the ticket. Southwest should continue to be an all inclusive airline. Paying extra for WI-FI would change your business model into a nickle and dime operation much like the other airlines which I avoid at all cost. Continue to treat your loyal customers with respect and remain the customers' airline unlike the rest of the airline industry.
Anonymous2019
Not applicable
I love that you will be offering SWiFi. I'm not a frequent flyer, but do travel coast-to-coast several times a year to visit my daughter and grandson. My route takes 9-12 hours, and while my laptop will only last for about two hours at best, it would be really convenient to check in-flight on my arrival and departure gates, get a layout of the connecting airport and send off an email should there be delays en route. I'm happy to pay for SWiFi, but along with the others, sorry to hear there is no plan for providing power outlets. Still LUV Southwest! You're my One and Only.
Bill_Geary
Not applicable
Keep the free bags and we'll pay for wi-fi. How about letting folks use free drink coupons for wi-fi? Loyal RR customers who don't drink much might appreciate using the coupons for more than alcoholic bev's. Just like it may take one or two coupons for diff. drinks, just assign the appropriate number of coupons to the value of wi-fi.
Anonymous2198
Not applicable
My suggestion is to make it a flat fee per segment not by the minute of use. That is where the old air phones failed in my opinion in the past. They made it riduclously expensive. Keep it real and you will sell the heck out of it. Us business travelers would kill to have wi fi
Anonymous110
Not applicable
I don't agree with other posts on this site that everyone should pay for it across the board and it should be built into the ticket price. This should be an optional service paid for by those that use it. There are still many of us who do not travel with our laptops and do not need this service.
Anonymous1935
Not applicable
wi-fi will be a home run for Southwest! If you can provide outlets to plug in laptops, that would be better yet. I would be happy to pay up to $10 on a cross country flight for access. Virgin America offer this service and it is often my criteria for choosing them when possible. Get 'er done!
Used_to_Like_SW
Not applicable
Very sad that Southwest keeps harping that their bags fly free, while their airfare prices are going through the roof. You still get a free bag on Jet-Blue and their prices are VERY low. They still have $59.00 fares to Florida from NYC, and the lowest Southwest can come up with is $89.00. And forget about Ding fares. Ding has become a joke. Keep touting your bags free fly while Jet-Blue gives MUCH better fares, AND television. I've written many times, but you know the "Southern Mentality", they think they are always right. VERY SAD. We used to fly Southwest EXCLUSIVELY, but not any more. Bye, Bye Southwest!
Tim12
Not applicable
I agree with many others here... increase the ticket price by a couple bucks and offer it to everyone for no additional fee. Seems like a no-brainer option given SW bags fly free campaign. I imagine the aspect of "free" Wi-Fi would lure passengers from other carriers as well.
G__Paquette
Not applicable
How about raising the fees by .25cents to .50cents per segment. This would MORE than cover the cost of the wifi system and it's provider fees. Besides, the marketing value of ROW 44 by you mentionning and promoting their brand/product is worth a huge discount from them as a provider.
Donde
Not applicable
Please don't charge for Wifi. Build it in. You are creating so much good will by not nickel & diming people as someone said already that's your "brand." I love Southwest! It's more efficient and more fun than any other airline!
CJ21
Not applicable
I agree that I don't want to pay for wifi for the kids tix. I think it should be a nominal fee for those who choose to use it.
Anonymous1642
Not applicable
If I can get free wi-fi at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc for the cost of a cup of coffee, I should be able to get free wi-fi if I'm spending a few hundred dollars to fly. Don't nickle and dime the customer and instead use this as a selling point to fly southwest.
Anonymous1877
Not applicable
Nothing is "free". Stay the course and add a couple of bucks to the fare. Keep doing the things that make Southwest great!! Don't join the "also rans" by adding fees for Wi-Fi. Bags fly free!! So should my iPod Touch ( or iPhone )
Reggie3
Not applicable
This is great for my flights from Denver to SF and Phx for work. Thank you. Now could we also think about televisions on the longer flights. Denver to Boston non stop really needs one.
Luigi
Not applicable
Great news, and another notch in your service belt Soutwest. I undersatand the business need to charge for services. How about we barter for a change; FREE WIFi on the flight if we book our next trip during the flight. Your database folks should be able to program this easily. A little something for both of us. Alternatively, keep spreading the LUV and build the charge into the operating cost and fares, no need to charge for it separately. Whatever you decide, we will still feel the LUV. Thank you Southwest.
kayz127
Not applicable
What about those of us who don't need w-ifi, I don't want my ticket to go up! Let those that want it pay for it! I will still use your airline either way. Keep up the good work!!!!
John_DeFusco
Not applicable
Make it so you pay for wifi with your ticket so it's not a cash or credit charge once you're on the plane. If you increase the price of the tickets universally, those people who don't want it will be paying for those who do. $5 one way is fair for the charge. But, make sure the signal is clean. Having the ability to use the internet but losing the connection a dozen times in flight is only going to create aggravation.
Anonymous2046
Not applicable
For your frequent flying A-List members, either provide it for free as a benefit for being an "A-Lister" or charge a yearly one time fee, as opposed to a per flight cost.
Roslin
Not applicable
I agree about adding a couple of bucks for WiFi to keeping it simple like everything else Southwest does so well. MY WISH is that Southwest will allow carry-on miniature dog 5 pound or less in a kennel beg as a carry on item. I HOPE I HOPE.
Anonymous2583
Not applicable
I'd hate to see everybody's ticket cost more just to get wi-fi. Those that use it should be the only one's charged.
Chris_C
Not applicable
another vote for simply adding the cost into the fares. As a consumer I hate being nickel and dimed and would not pay for in flight wifi. By adding a small charge into the fares, you would recoup your costs quicker and can promote free wifi on your flights which would be a big draw.
Anonymous4324
Not applicable
don't build the price into the fare. i would say like someone else did -- include it as part of the business select fare and/or if you're an A-lister though. these are most likely business travelers who would certainly make legitimate use of it . and maybe also include it you do the upgrade thing. i consider wifi a luxury service so if some of us other schleps want it just to pass time or whatever we should pay for it individually. those of us who don't have a "real" need for it, i don't think it should be included in an overall increased fare just because others want to "surf around" to pass the time.
George_L_
Not applicable
Let's face it folks, Wi-Fi will Not be FREE on SW. Our favorite airline has been saving thousands of passengers a great deal of money over the last few years with "bags fly free." If you want SW to stay in business....and to continue offering low fares with great service...they need to somehow earn additional cash. I want low fares, great service, and no baggage fees to continue. I'm more than willing to pay a reasonable fee for Wi-Fi based on the length of the flight...with a maximum fee of $10. For all of us frequent flyers who earn those free flights, perhaps SW should consider offering some free Wi-Fi minutes in lieu of drink coupons. As others have mentioned, either they don't/can't drink, or they might have one drink. Personally, I've never had more than two drinks on a SW flight(i.e.,my unused drink coupons are piling up). Let's work with SW to keep them in business.
Anonymous480
Not applicable
Wifi should be free but if not have a per year charge of 20 or a per day charge when you ticket of 1. If I have a computer I can play games on it offline or work on writing without connectivity, the added connectivity is not worth that much.
todd_bailey_car
Not applicable
Great news! I am a frequent business traveler and having onboard wifi is a great benefit to me and my business. I would appreciate the built in nature of the cost into fares, but if I was a pleasure traveler who would not use the WIFI I would feel I was being overcharged or being charged for something I don't want or need. Most companies, including mine, will reimburse a reasonable amount for WIFI connectivity. The key here is a reasonable price for all passsengers that want to access it, easy access, easy payment with online receipt, a per use charge as well as an annual charge option, and finally reliable connections. Are you planning on adding power supplies on the passenger seats as well?
Anonymous3416
Not applicable
I always fly Southwest when I can . You are the best. No suprises just a good deal and great staff. I actually feel ripped off when I go on other airlines.
Ed_B
Not applicable
Having wifi can make traveling a more pleasant experience. However, I hope this doesn't mean people will be able to make phone calls in flight. I'm tired of being forced to listen to other's conversations everywhere I go. Flights are one of the few places I get a break. I suggest you just add a buck or so to the ticket price. Don't tell us you're doing it and we'll think it's free. :0)
Dale2
Not applicable
For those of us that don't drink, it would be nice to be able to use the drink coupons for free wifi...
SCOTT11
Not applicable
As a business select customer, I would like to see the wifi offered in the business select package, maybe use the drink voucher for choice of wifi or drink. Either way, still the best deal in the sky. Sky, wifi...huh? Gives me an idea for a jingle.
AZPAT
Not applicable
How about doing something similar to what Amazon.com does with their Prime Shipping (one time yearly fee up front and you get 2 day shipping at no additional charge)? Southwest could charge a one time yearly fee tied to the Rapid Rewards ID , and that would allow a person to connect on any flights they take the rest of the year. Most people hate being nickel and dimed repeatedly - so make it simple to use the service and don't tie it to a ticket.
Anonymous3863
Not applicable
yeah free would be great, but SWA needs to make profit so they DON'T have to raise fares and charge for bags. I'm fine with a charge, as long as it is not too $$ I'd pay! I would love to option to pay for it when I buy my ticket.
Anonymous2000
Not applicable
Why are we always wanting something for nothing.....I believe having the option and making it reasonable is good enough. Why should I pay more for my ticket just because others want to surf the internet? Go ahead and nickel and dime me....Just let me choose where to spend it!