Southwest to offer wi-fi on all flights by 2010

To add to its cheap fares, no-extra-fees policy, and wise-cracking flight attendants, Southwest Airlines is giving us one more reason to love the low-cost carrier. Southwest says that, by the first quarter of 2010, wi-fi internet will be available on all flights.

Southwest and Row 44 have been testing the service on four planes since February of 2009. In a press release, Southwest Airlines’ Senior VP of Marketing and Revenue Management says Southwest is “very happy with both the technical performance of the system and the response of the Customers who have used it.”

Southwest is also testing various price points, so there’s no word yet on how much the service will cost.

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)