Pumped about wifi gate to gate?
Can’t wait to watch free TV courtesy of Dish?
Well guess what, we’re sweetening the deal. Beginning today, Southwest is enabling iMessage for $2 a day!
Any Apple user that has iOS 5 or later with the iMessage feature pre-loaded on their device can take advantage of this option. Now you can stay powered up and connected to friends and family like you never left the ground.
Don't worry Android users, we'll be showing you the LUV soon. Tell us what your favorite Android-based messaging apps are and we'll ask Santa to make it happen early in 2014!
The holidays are great for traveling and Southwest is making your flight amazing!
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The next time you log on to our inflight WiFi, you'll see something very different!
A new portal has been rolled out across all 431 of our WiFi-equipped aircraft. The new portal interface is fresh, engaging, and showcases our growing lineup of products and services including: TV, Movies, WiFi, and destination content.
New features include a redesigned navigation bar and menu for easy access to products; a TV guide so Customers can see what's playing; and "Quicklinks" for the three major categories—Entertainment, Connect, and Destination.
This new portal sets the stage for the addition of many exciting enhancements to appeal to an even wider range of Customers. Many of the new features will be added beginning in the fourth quarter and continuing through 2014.
Southwest is charting new territory in the world of wireless Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity with the largest satellite-based WiFi fleet in the world, free TV courtesy of DISH, and now, a new look and feel that is certain to be the envy of the industry.
What You Need to Know :
Access to the portal is free
WiFi is priced at $8 a day per device (free for A-List Preferred Customers)
TV is FREE courtesy of DISH
Movies are priced at $5 per movie
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It took two and a half years (and quite the labor of LUV), so we are excited to announce that Southwest Airlines now has WiFi installed on all -700 and -800 aircraft! That’s more than 410 aircraft representing more than 70% of our fleet. What’s more? We’re now the only airline in the world to offer a robust wireless entertainment solution with the addition of movies-on-demand! Last summer, we debuted eight channels of live TV – all news and sports – and added NFL Redzone as a “premium channel” during football season.
This past January we began testing movies-on-demand in order to round out our offering and introduce more variety for our Customers. As of today, our TV package - which includes unlimited access to live and on-demand television - and movies-on-demand are available on all WiFi-enabled planes!
Southwest has long studied inflight entertainment but the cost and complexity of a seat-back device was never a fit for our lean and mean business model. WiFi, and specifically Row 44, our satellite-based WiFi provider, presented us with the unique ability to offer both broadband WiFi and a robust inflight entertainment solution through a single system. That combined with more and more Customers bringing their own wireless devices onboard means we’re delivering cutting edge technology and entertainment inflight. How’s that for a “low frills” carrier?
See below for more information about this exciting enhancement!
All products sold separately and priced all day per device on WiFi-enabled planes
WiFi access: $8
TV: $5 (includes unlimited access to live television channels and on-demand television episodes)
Movies: $5 per movie
How it works:
Once onboard a WiFi-enabled plane and a Flight Attendant has indicated it's safe to use electronic devices, simply connect to "southwestwifi" and launch your web browser to get immediate access to the Inflight Entertainment Portal. From there you can purchase one of the above products or browse the free portal offerings including a cool flight tracker, games, and southwest.com.
Q: Which planes have movies-on-demand and TV?
A: WiFi, TV and movies are now available on all -700 and -800 aircraft. This represents over 70% of our fleet.
Q: I just want email. Won't the addition of these entertainment options require a ton of bandwidth?
A: The movies and TV do not interfere with the bandwidth onboard. The live channels are delivered through a dedicated "pipe" designed specifically for that reason and the on-demand content is stored on a server onboard the aircraft.
Q: How is Southwest able to offer live television inflight?
A: Southwest chose Row 44 as our WiFi provider. Row 44 is a satellite-based service that allows us to offer a wide range of entertainment in addition to some of the most robust WiFi in the skies. As we expand to overwater destinations, the WiFi will continue to work ensuring Customers are connected wherever they fly.
Q: Can't I just purchase a movie or watch TV through the WiFi?
A: Being in an aircraft means that the bandwidth is shared among the users onboard. Video requires a lot of bandwidth which can result in a less-than-stellar experience such as buffering and pixelating. Because our service utilizes a dedicated pipe for live television and stored onboard content for movies and tv episodes, the result is flawless and instantaneous..no waiting for something to download. The quality is something you have to see to believe.
Q: Will you be getting more live television channels?
A: Yes! We will be adding up to 20 channels of live television this year including children's and general interest programming.
Q: If I purchase a movie and don't finish it can I finish it on the ground?
A: Not at this time. All the products are only available on WiFi-enabled planes above 10,000 feet.
Q: So, let me get this straight, if I have a stop or connection, my purchase is good all day?
A: Correct! Your purchase of WiFi, television, or a movie will be available on the device you purchased it on all day so long as you are on a WiFi-enabled plane.
Q: How do I know if my flight has WiFi?
A: It's denoted on the checkin confirmation on southwest.com and through the WiFi widget located at www.southwest.com/wifi 24 hours prior to your flight (you'll need your confirmation #)
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Yep, you read that right….Southwest Airlines joined the world of inflight entertainment this week when we launched a trial of wireless live television onboard five WiFi planes.
The evaluation of this exciting new product has actually been years in the making….going all the way back to 2009 when we announced plans to install Row 44’s satellite-based WiFi system on our fleet.
I’ll talk more about live TV in a moment but first an update on where we are with WiFi…
As of today, we have 251 planes installed with WiFi. By the end of this year, Southwest will have 417 WiFi birds representing over 70% of our fleet. Your odds of getting onboard a WiFi plane are definitely improving.
We chose Row 44 for its scalability, flexibility, and ability to grow with our network. We get to decide how it’s priced and sold in addition to what content we want to provide. We are currently priced at $5 a day per device.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve had triumphs and challenges with WiFi….not all together surprising considering the system is strapped to a metal tube, flying thousands of feet in the air while sending signals to and from space.
Let’s pause a moment and appreciate this colossal feat of engineering…..
That being said, we are working hard to continuously optimize and improve the experience. The explosion of tablets and mobile WiFi devices since 2009 means increased demand for bandwidth. In addition, we’ve had a few component replacements resulting in temporary outages and delays in installation.
The good news is that many of the kinks have been worked out. As a result, we are bridging the gap between in-flight connectivity and in-flight entertainment by being the first airline to offer wireless live TV. This isn’t your typical streaming experience….it’s instantaneous and high definition television delivered straight to your device. Our test launch consists of eight TV channels – all news and sports.
CNBC MSNBC Fox News Fox Business News Major League Baseball games via MLB.com NFL Network NBC Sports Network NFL Redzone (available at the onset of football season)
We plan to monitor these five trial planes for a couple weeks and then roll out to 15 additional aircraft. If you’re flying with us soon, the Flight Attendant will announce if you’re on a live TV plane. Pending analysis, we plan to expand the live TV offering across our entire WiFi fleet by the end of the year.
A few more facts about live TV:
Live TV can be accessed from the WiFi portal and is available as a separate charge. Customers do not have to purchase WiFi to purchase live TV and vice versa. Currently live TV is priced at $5 per day per device (same as WiFi) but we will be assessing a few different price points throughout the trial period. The price allows you to watch all available channels. More info can be found at www.southwest.com/wifi
Live TV represents only the first step in the evolution of our inflight WiFi. Stay tuned to this channel, and we’ll bring you the breaking news as it happens.
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