Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Southwest Wi-Fi now in Testing Phase

Southwest wifi.jpg

I've got to hand it to Southwest, the discount carrier has done a really good job of trying to cater to the geek and business traveller. In the last couple of years, charging areas have cropped up at all the Southwest gates I've been around including the latest round of big comfy chairs with built-in power.

Now they are going to the extra mile (or extra miles) and testing inflight wi-fi for passengers. The service is currently available on on 4 of the company's 737 jets, but if you manage to hit the jet lottery (the fleet is 536 planes) you can currently get free wi-fi.

The service is a partnership with Yahoo and uses satellite connectivity for the net connection. Although there is no guarantee that this service will go fleet wide, the company says:

"Internet access will be free during this evaluation period. We will be surveying Customers throughout the evaluation to get input on various aspects of the product and help us determine whether to equip the rest of our fleet with this cutting-edge technology. So if you are on one of our Wi-Fi planes, we'll be asking for your feedback!"

I'm sure if the service is well received, they will begin expanding it. I just found out on my way back from Chicago, that Southwest is now only taking credit cards for drinks which is a big step forward as well. A "cashless" airline with Wi-Fi. Now if I could only convince them to have a club area where I could relax while I wait for my flight...

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