Southwest Airlines joins the “superskyway” with inflight Internet trials

Southwest Airlines just announced their first inflight WiFi trial. The service is installed on one of their 540 planes, with an additional 3 planes to be equipped by March.

Access is provided by Row 44 – who opted for a satellite-to-plane system, unlike the technology in use by Aircell who use a ground-to-plane system.

In addition to the inflight internet access, Southwest also partnered with Yahoo! to create a custom homepage for each flight. The page contains destination information, a live route map as well as a collection of Yahoo! games.

Southwest is the last of the major carriers to commit to bringing wireless Internet access to their fleet, but as the largest US carrier (in terms of passenger numbers), I’m sure a commitment like this is not something you do overnight.

The Southwest Airlines inflight Internet service has not yet received FCC approval, and no pricing has been determined. During the trial, passengers can connect to the service for free. Any WiFi enabled device should be able to get online during the flight, including laptops, iPhones and any other smartphone.

Pretty soon the news we post about airborne Internet will be about the airlines that do not offer this service. Oh, and just so we are clear about something, the term “Superskyway” is theirs – not mine!

(Via: Southwest Airlines blog)