Southwest Airlines is putting Wi-Fi on four planes starting this summer. Unlike JetBlue's crappy, restricted service, this will be the "full" Internet (save for VOIP, I'd bet) with "the highest bandwidth available to commercial airlines in the United States," according to Southwest. Southwest is partnering with Row 44, an inflight broadband provider. I fly Southwest a lot, so this is great news for me. I won't hold my breath for laptop power ports at my seat though. That would add way too much weight for the Greyhound of the sky. Catch the full press release after the jump. (Photo by AP/David Zalubowski)
Southwest Airlines Bringing the Internet to the Sky Via Satellite DALLAS, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Southwest Airlines will be the first US carrier to test satellite-delivered broadband Internet access on multiple aircraft. With this innovation, Southwest Customers with a wi-fi enabled device will have full access to the Internet including e-mail, music, shopping, and virtual private networks (VPN) via a high-speed connection. Southwest Airlines is partnering with Southern California-based Row 44 and hopes to begin testing Internet capabilities on four aircraft this summer.
"Southwest Airlines is pleased to announce its partnership with Row 44, and we intend to deliver the highest bandwidth available to commercial airlines in the United States," said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines' Senior Vice President of Marketing. "Southwest's selection of satellite technology will offer a more robust experience for more Customers per aircraft versus other solutions available in the marketplace."
"Southwest is looking for the best solution for our Customers not only for Internet e-mail access, but for additional inflight entertainment as well," Ridley said. "We look forward to exploring this cutting-edge technology with Row 44 and hope this will keep our Customers productive and entertained inflight."
"We're excited to partner with Southwest Airlines to keep passengers informed, in touch, and entertained," said Gregg Fialcowitz, President of Row 44. "This service will set the standard for excellence in inflight connectivity."
After almost 37 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other airlines-offering low fares and a reliable product with impeccable Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the most efficient airline in the sky and offers Customers a pleasant traveling experience. Southwest recently updated its gate areas and improved its boarding procedure to make flying Southwest productive and convenient. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), the nation's largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers boarded, currently serves 64 cities in 32 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,300 flights a day and has more than 33,000 Employees systemwide.
Row 44 is the fast, global, fleet-wide solution for inflight broadband services — high-speed Internet, video entertainment, cell phone support, and airline operational services. The system offers wide-body, narrow-body and even regional jet support along with flexible service deployment options. And its cost effective because installation is quick, the hardware is light, and the service leverages existing satellite networks.