Southwest Airlines has one of the most efficient and affordable in-flight Wi-Fi – along with other fantastic perks. With a fully Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft, gate-to-gate interconnectivity, and affordable pricing packages, flyers now have a seamless internet experience while flying onboard Southwest.
Southwest Airlines, commonly called Southwest, is the leading airline by global market valuation. From its control office in Dallas, Texas, U.S., it operates over 4,000 flights daily with about 747 all-Boeing 737 aircraft.
With an operational record of 103 destinations in all parts of the U.S. and ten other countries, Southwest is also the world’s leading budget airline carrying more domestic passengers than any other airline in the U.S.
Southwest Airlines Overview
|Name||Southwest Airlines Co|
|WiFi Provider||Panasonic Avionics|
Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi Timeline
The Dallas-based air carrier started experimenting with Wi-Fi with Row 44 (a broadband internet provider later bought by Global Eagle Entertainment in 2012) as far back as 2009.
In 2010, it began offering its satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi with a $5 per flight fee, irrespective of flight distance. The outfitting continued with initial plans of finishing up with the Wi-Fi installations at the close of 2012.
2013 – 2019: As of 20th November 2013, the airline marked a milestone by becoming the first U.S-based airline to offer gate-to-gate interconnectivity aboard its fleets serviced by its network partner, Global Eagle Entertainment.
Then on 13th December 2016, Panasonic signed a deal with Southwest and began a partnering service provider alongside Global Eagle Entertainment to boost quality in-flight connectivity and entertainment for air travellers.
However, the Southwest-Panasonic partnership ended in 2019 for officially undisclosed reasons. The airline’s spokeswoman, Michelle Agnew, only stated that the separation was mutual from both sides. Yet, some people speculated that the fall-out might be due to many complaints about inconsistent Wi-Fi service received from customers onboard.
2019 – Present: Afterwards, Southwest Airlines worked hard to improve its Wi-Fi service and replaced the Panasonic Wi-Fi technology with Global Eagle Entertainment’s technology. From mid-2019 to date.
Presently, the low-budget airline has its entire fleet outfitted with top-speed, satellite-based Wi-Fi with other fantastic features added regularly.
Wi-Fi-equipped Southwest Aircraft
Southwest is one of the few Airlines that owns a fully Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft. It operates a total of 747 fleets made up of solely Boeing 737 aircraft and is, therefore, the largest operator of Boeing 737s in the world.
The entire Boeing 737 aircraft in its fleet as of December 2019:
|Aircraft Type||Number owned||Wi-Fi Status|
|Boeing 737-700||506||Fully equipped|
|Boeing 737-800||207||Fully equipped|
|Boeing 737 MAX 8 (temporarily grounded)||34||Fully equipped|
How To Detect If Your Flight Provides In-flight Wi-Fi
- Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft have the Wi-Fi symbol on the outside and inside of their bodies to indicate Wi-Fi availability.
- You can also visit Southwest.com/wifi a day to your travel and input your name and confirmation number to view details of your flight.
- Additionally, the flight crew always announces the Wi-Fi availability status onboard each airline.
Wi-Fi Provider For Southwest Airlines
Though Panasonic Avionics was at some point a partner to Southwest, Global Eagle Entertainment has always been the main, and currently the only, service provider of satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi to Southwest.
Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) is a principal network provider of satellite-based internet connectivity and entertainment to governmental, maritime, yacht, non-theatrical, and aviation sectors.
It grew as a merger of various internet companies and, in 2012, also acquired Southwest’s foremost satellite-based network provider, Row 44, and expanded its operations.
Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi Price
As a notably known low-cost airline, Southwest kept up to that legacy by offering its top-speed satellite-based Wi-Fi price at a fixed rate of $8 for each device per flight. This rate is on the reasonable side considering the perks that come with it:
- The Wi-Fi has gate-to-gate connectivity, i.e., passengers can access the Wi-Fi from boarding to landing.
- The price is the same irrespective of the device used in connecting.
- Wi-Fi data usage is unlimited.
- The Wi-Fi fee is also the same on both local and international flights.
- The price includes a whole day’s pass, implying that passengers can still reconnect to Wi-Fi onboard several connecting flights on the same day without making another payment.
- It supports web surfing, emailing, flight tracking, and texting (for free).
Previously, Southwest passengers paid $2 per device for an entire day of messaging. But now, the air carrier offers FREE messaging services to flyers onboard. The free service, however, only works with iMessage and WhatsApp.
Asides from Southwest, you can get a similar offer only on Alaska Airlines and Delta in the United States.
Surprisingly, you can still get internet Wi-Fi for FREE on Southwest by just being an A-list Preferred Member. As part of the Rapid Rewards Program, this elite status awards free-of-charge Wi-Fi on all aeroplanes – along with some benefits, to members when they log in with their Rapid Rewards account details.
Other Features Of Southwest Wi-Fi
- The price for a day’s Wi-Fi access is $8 per device, implying that you cannot switch your devices. Switching would require another payment.
- An initial all-day Wi-Fi purchase covers your entire flight for the day, including connecting flights.
- international routes, network coverage may be unavailable. Passengers usually get notified on the in-flight entertainment portal if the flight crew suspects any network outage.
- Southwest Wi-Fi does not support high-frequency apps, webpages, and video content, including, Zoom, HBO Max, Netflix, and others.
- The airline also prohibits and filters any content deemed provocative for public viewing.
- Free texting is applicable only between persons using WhatsApp and iMessage. Pre-download the app before boarding.
- Additionally, Southwest Wi-Fi offers unlimited data usage for passengers.
- Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft also offer free in-flight entertainment onboard.
- On the downside, the airline is yet to install power plugs onboard its airlines for passengers to charge their devices. Alternatively, passengers can bring along power banks or use the power stations near the airline gates to juice up their mobile devices.
- Supported payment methods include;
- Apple Pay
- Credit cards – Discover, American Express, MasterCard, Visa.
Steps To Connect To Southwest Airlines In-flight Wi-Fi:
- Go to your device settings.
- Ensure flight mode is on upon boarding.
- Also set on device Wi-Fi.
- Pick “SouthwestWiFi” from the listed hotspot options.
- A different page will show up carrying a web link to www.southwestwifi.com or directions to copy the link.
- Tap the link or copy the URL to your device’s browser.
- In a case where the in-flight entertainment channel did not open up instantly, then manually search “www.southwestwifi.com” in your browser.
- In the entertainment web portal, purchase and connect to the Wi-Fi.
In-flight Entertainment Services On Southwest Airlines
Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE), the long-time partner of Southwest, always works to maintain a high-class experience for its client’s customers and has made a series of improvements to the airline’s in-flight entertainment service.
Pre-2019, customers needed to pay for Wi-Fi before accessing movies onboard Southwest’s aircraft but all that changed when the airline announced its free movies offering on 1st November 2018. Now Southwest Airlines has a 100 per cent free in-flight entertainment offering onboard its entire fleet.
There is no requirement for passengers to purchase daily $8 Wi-Fi to watch and enjoy the various movies on offer using the Southwest app.
Again, in 2020, GEE, following several adjustments to the entertainment web portal, scraped out the need to download the Southwest app to access wireless in-flight entertainment. Air travellers can choose their entertainment options right from the entertainment portal without downloading the app.
Southwest offers a series of entertainment options to select from via the in-flight entertainment web portal onboard Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft.
These options include the following:
Free Movies: Over 30 free movies are accessible monthly and regularly updated to accommodate the latest movies across Hollywood.
Live TV: Live TV channels are accessible on air on Southwest. From various news channels to sports, passengers get the latest happenings and watch their favourite games while flying. The different TV channels include:
Southwest also offers free on-demand TV shows via the entertainment portal.
Free Music: In partnership with iHeartRadio, Southwest offers free music and music videos for passengers’ listening delight. Subscribers to iHeartRadio can enjoy the entire music library and their favourite playlists.
Other In-flight Entertainment of Southwest Airlines
Additionally, customers can track routes and learn more about their destinations from the in-flight entertainment web portal.
Other Features Of In-flight Entertainment On Southwest
- Southwest is yet to install seatback monitors on board any of its aircraft. All entertainment options are available for streaming from passengers’ mobile devices.
- To access the in-flight entertainment web portal, join the “SouthwestWiFi” hotspot and follow the prompts to access www.southwestwifi.com. On the entertainment channel, pick your choice of entertainment (movie, live TV, on-demand TV shows e.t.c) and enjoy.
- In-flight Entertainment Services are only accessible on Wi-Fi-equipped flights and for limited periods where network coverage is obtainable.
- On international flights, Live TV and iHeartRadio channels are unavailable on the whole flight due to legal permissions.
List Of Supported Devices And System Software of Southwest Airlines
Below are the minimum device and system requirements
- Android devices – Android 8+
- Apple devices – OS 12.0+
- Windows – Windows 10
Supported browsers are the latest versions of Chrome, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
Commonly Asked Questions
Is Southwest Wi-Fi Free?
Southwest Airlines charges a daily $8 fee for its in-flight Wi-Fi. However, it is free for A-list Preferred Members.
Which Airplane Offers In-flight Wi-Fi?
The entire Boeing 737 fleet of Southwest Airlines provides in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers onboard.
Will I get a refund for poor Wi-Fi service?
Visit the Contact page to request a refund if you experienced a poor Wi-Fi connection on board.
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