Online on air with Southwest Airlines

Soon, passengers of Southwest Airlines won’t have to worry about being disconnected mid-flight and they won’t worry about paying extra 8 dollars for it according to a Dallas Morning News article from May 4. They say, 

“Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is testing new onboard Wi-Fi on 40 jets and will let passengers and employees use it for free while it experiments with the service.

The Wi-Fi equipment will be tried out to “handle more simultaneous users, faster speeds and new capabilities” as carriers race for better internet access in the air after decades of lagging service.

“This trial will allow customers to stream, browse and engage on the internet at no cost, just like other complimentary services,” said a message to Southwest employees from Tony Roach, vice president of customer experience. “Our goal is to evaluate how the new hardware improves performance while delivering a reliable internet experience used by a large volume of customers.”

The upgrades doesn’t stop there as Southwest Airlines will also be installing new ports and overhead bins as well as upgrading their online ticket service to further increase the friendliness of their services according to a Street Insider article from May 11. They say, 

“Southwest plans to install latest-generation onboard USB A and USB C power ports on every seat in the aircraft, with a space-saving system that will not compromise legroom. The airline plans to bring this new convenience and capability onboard 737 MAX aircraft beginning in early 2023.

“The ability to keep your devices charged while you are connected inflight is a request that we’ve heard consistently in ongoing conversations with our Customers,” said Tony Roach, Vice President of Customer Experience and Customer Relations. “With so much that our Customers love about doing business with Southwest, we’re constantly listening to our Employees and our Customers for improvement opportunities, and we’re excited to share some additional news and updates on this ongoing work.”

Alongside its famous “Bags Fly Free” promise that provides every Customer onboard a Southwest flight the option to check two bags for free (weight and size limitations apply), the carrier is making room in the cabin for carryon items with larger overhead bins that also bring easier access to store and retrieve luggage onboard. The larger overhead bins will be on aircraft deliveries beginning early next year.

New functionality for the carrier’s digital platforms and airport kiosks give Customers the ability to handle common requests and help them move more efficiently from curb to gate. By late summer 2022, Customers will be able to purchase Upgraded Boarding A1-A15 positions (when available) on their mobile devices without standing in line at the airport. Also on the horizon, an ability to add lap child travelers when booking online, and the airline recently added lap child check-in at self-service kiosks. Introducing more self-service options builds on the carrier’s effort to reduce wait times with improved and simplified online change functionality; recent improvements have reduced the need for Customers to call to make flight changes, and subsequently reduced hold times to allow Southwest Representatives more availability for specialized Hospitality and Customer Service.

Lastly, Southwest Airlines is already looking to increase the number of free movies that can be streamed and watched by their passengers in their app to provide entertainment to passengers who are waiting to be boarded and those already in flight.