Southwest Airlines offers gate-to-gate wi-fi for $8 per day

Summary:The airline that prides itself on providing services for free has discovered a way to make an additional charge to flyers wanting to stay connected onboard.

SW wifi

The FAA recently relaxed its rules affecting electronic devices on flights and airlines have rushed to get them in place. Southwest Airlines is getting ready for holiday flight loads and has announced that flyers on most flights (not all have wi-fi) can optionally choose to have wi-fi available from gate-to-gate.

The wif-fi service comes at a cost of $8/day per device and provides connectivity at all times while on flights. The daily charge covers wi-fi during stops and connections. Over 400 of the airline's roughly 600 jets have wi-fi onboard so odds are good yours will have it available.

Southwest has developed a good business model by providing services at no cost, especially those that competing airlines charge passengers dearly to provide. This ubiquitous wi-fi is a way for the airline to get extra charges from passengers while covering the cost of providing it.

Devices on Southwest have to be in flight mode otherwise, so if the gate-to-gate wi-fi is used on a tablet or laptop, an additional charge will have to be paid for a smartphone, too.

In addition to the wi-fi charge, movies are available through Southwest's affiliation with the Dish Network for $5/each per device.

Note that the Southwest Airlines web site dealing with the new wi-fi service states that only select Android devices are supported currently. There is no list of devices to back up that statement so plan accordingly, in case your Android phone or tablet is not on the supported list.

Topics: Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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