These days, as fares get lower across the board, in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment are becoming increasingly important to travelers looking to get the best bang for their buck. Over the last few months, major U.S.-based airlines such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines began offering all in-flight entertainment for free.
In an effort to improve its in-flight internet connectivity and entertainment options, one of the nation’s most popular airlines, low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines, has recently reaffirmed its commitment to having a 100 percent Wi-Fi-connected fleet of more than 700 aircraft. Southwest operates the world’s largest fleet of Boeing aircraft, many of which already use satellite-based Wi-Fi that provides travelers with reliable internet service from departure to arrival.
The airline has signed agreements with Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Global Eagle Entertainment to use their services to enhance connectivity, increase Wi-Fi bandwidth, provide live television and offer exclusive content for passengers. These partnerships will help Southwest with next year’s upcoming introduction of new Boeing 737-8 aircraft and retirement of older, non-Wi-Fi-connected Boeing 737 aircraft. The agreements will lead to bandwidth being tripled, and Southwest passengers will benefit from greatly improved download speeds. In 2018, Southwest plans to increase bandwidth again.
“As the largest domestic airline in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, carrying more than 100 million customers a year, we are committed to providing an enhanced inflight experience for our customers,” said Ryan Green, vice president marketing for Southwest Airlines. “Going forward, our customers will have the capability to stay connected on Southwest Airlines flights with even more bandwidth at their disposal.”
Passengers on Southwest Airlines can take advantage of the current in-flight entertainment options, which include nearly 20 channels of live television, offered free of charge. On-demand movies and television shows are also available for streaming on passengers’ own devices.