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Southwest Airlines Begins Customer Tests of InFlight Wi-Fi

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Airline Begins Customer Tests of InFlight Wi-Fi

DALLAS—Feb. 10, 2009—Peanuts, pretzels, internet? That’s the question for some Southwest Airlines Customers today as the airline tests wi-fi.  Southwest is the first to test new aircraft to satellite technology on commercial aircraft.  Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with Row 44, has equipped one aircraft with the technology and is set to equip three additional aircraft by early March 2009.  Southwest is also partnering with Yahoo! to offer an in-flight homepage with destination-relevant content.  Southwest will be testing the technology for the next few months. To view a photo of the wi-fi equipped aircraft visit To view a blog post, video, or listen to podcast visit

“Internet connectivity has been high on our list of priorities for quite some time,” said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Management.  “We believe the aircraft-to-satellite technology is the most robust solution in the industry, and we look forward to the feedback from our Customers.”

"Southwest is all about creating the best travel experience for their Customers," said John Guidon, Row 44 Chief Executive Officer. "We couldn't be prouder that they've selected Row 44's high-speed broadband to enhance their Customers' experience yet again with Internet connectivity inflight."

When Southwest Customers board the wi-fi enabled aircraft, they will be greeted with wi-fi placards and onboard instruction sheets. Those interested in using the service during the test period will have the opportunity to log on to the service free of charge via their own personal wi-fi enabled device (laptops, iPhones, wi-fi enabled smart phones, etc).  Cellular technology will not work with the wi-fi service. The service is being offered on a trial basis, and has not yet received final FCC approval.

Southwest Airlines is also teaming with Yahoo! to offer an in-flight homepage that includes a one-of-a-kind flight tracker, as well as daily programming of local news and information.  The new flight tracker will allow passengers to follow the plane’s flight path, and view “fly-over” points of interest along the route, with images from Flickr.  The Yahoo!/Southwest homepage will be maintained by Yahoo!, and will include destination-relevant content such as local events, weather and news, as well as destination guides that highlight top restaurants, attractions and shopping.  Also featured are a number of Yahoo! Games, perfect for wiling away the hours.

“For years, Yahoo! has given its users a 30,000 foot view of what’s happening in the world, and it’s exciting to have an opportunity to do so from 30,000 feet,” said Joanne Bradford, senior vice president of revenue and market development, Yahoo!  “The Yahoo!-Southwest homepage will give passengers the information they need about what’s happening on the ground, before they land, so they can literally make on-the-fly decisions about their trip.”

After 37 years of service, Southwest Airlines, the nation’s leading low-fare carrier, continues to differentiate itself from other airlines—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service.  At Southwest Airlines, fees don’t fly. Customers can check their first two bags for free (size and weight limits apply), there are no change fees, no fees for a window or aisle seat, and, as always, snacks, sodas, and smiles are all complimentary!

Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience.  Southwest offers a very comfortable ride with all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom with a young all Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), the nation's largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 64 cities (with service to Minneapolis/St. Paul starting in March 2009) in 32 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide.



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So, how did the first day go? Anybody out there on the launch plane? What were people's experiences?
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Way to go! Part of what I love about flying SW is the fun. WIFI certainly contributes to that. It also contributes to being able to get some types of work done. Can't wait for it to be more universal. I hope that we can earn coupons for WIFI instead of or as an alternative to coupons for drinks.
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This service is great, so far it has been very good from where I sit at 19C someplace over NV! Getting mail from Microsoft Exchange takes a good amount of bandwidth and I am sure this will be a common application. I would recommend going via browser based email. I was so happy with this service; I booked a flight on SWA from the air! I only wish that there could be a ‘whisper site’ to find out what routes/planes have the test equipment. I would pick my flight for that. (I know you can’t guarantee that my plane will have it). I too would vote for options to get ‘W-IF coupons’ over drinks …. free WI-FI with business select or for A-list! ;-) Great – keep up the great work…. please be free to contact me for other follow-up questions and impressions – I will have some input.
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I agree with free wi-fi instead of drink coupons. I've had a real problem with the free drink coupons when I don't drink. We non-drinkers get no benefit while others do...with free wi-fi I feel that there is a value added bonus for us non-drinkers. I hope Southwest is listening! Please do something about this "exclusive" policy and open it up!
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As a nondrinker my vot e is for free internet option. We could tradein our coupons and just write INTERNET on them until you print up Internet booklets
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Flew on Wifi flight from Portland, Or. to Sacramento, Ca. on Thu. May 21, 2009. Awesome service. It worked great. Please feel free to contact me for any follow-up or questions.