The LA Times reports that Southwest Airlines will begin to install wireless internet on all its aircraft, making Wi-Fi available on every Southwest flight by early 2012. SWA already offers Wi-Fi on four of their planes.
Ding! You are now free to surf the Net — but on Southwest Airlines, you’ll have to pay for it.
The carrier that has been flying high by checking your first two bags for free announced plans this week to start installing wireless Internet on its entire fleet of 737s. But it won’t be free.
Installation of the Wi-Fi service, provided by Westlake Village-based Row 44, should begin in April and finish by early 2012.
Most airlines charge a fee to use airborne wireless Internet based on the length of the flight, ranging from $5.95 for flights lasting up to 90 minutes to $12.95 for flights lasting more than three hours.
When the airline announced this week that it was moving ahead with plans to offer Wi-Fi, its vice president for marketing and revenue, David Ridley, said in a statement that the airline was "testing a variety of price points" before making a decision this year.
But news that the self-proclaimed low-cost champion planned to charge for the service has sparked some anger…
I don’t like how this story was reported. Southwest bucks industry trend by not charging for checked baggage, then gets attacked–or at least questioned–when they want to recoup some of their costs for making internet available onboard?
The tone of the article is that Southwest is being greedy and that passengers are entitled to free internet, because SWA makes everything else available for no additional cost. That’s faulty logic.
I don’t plan on ever having a chance to try out Southwest’s Wi-Fi service, but Southwest continues to impress me with their combination of innovation and marketing that has consistently made them the most profitable airline in America. It’s a shame that their motives are called into question when they decide to charge for something that costs money to use.