WiFi can *not* be totally free if Southwest wants to offer this service long-term, so let's not all make unreasonable requests! It *does* cost a lot of money to install (and operate) such a service! I think a *tiered* charging system that is *not* cumbersome to use might be interesting -- the tiers can be based on a variety of factors such as desire to access WiFi in flight, customer loyalty status (eg, A-List members), and length of use. So if a customer does *not* want to access WiFi in flight then there is *no* excess charge; if A-List members access WiFi then their charges should be lower than the "normal" charge for that flight (eg, 50% lower); the "normal" charge for a flight might be some *reasonable* fixed rate per hour that should *decrease* over time as the initial investments get recouped by Southwest. This way if people need WiFi access for a limited period of time for eMail, or whatever, they needn't pay for the entire duration of their flight, while others who want access for the entire duration of their flight will pay more. We should be able to activate access to this service dynamically via credit cards while on the flight through an authentication system similar to that used in hotels, but with an ability to differentiate A-List members (perhaps through a personalized login ID?). Some conversion rate to "cash in" awarded drink coupon books towards WiFi access time will be a nice accommodation for those who do not, or can not, drink but have, nevertheless, earned their loyalty rewards. One more interesting concept to contemplate -- for those who do *not* have credit cards but would still like to have access to onboard WiFi, Southwest should establish a service similar to PayPal (called SouthwestPay?) as an alternative charging method.
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