Southwest Airlines WiFi: Real or Myth?
Southwest Airlines (SWA) has been talking about in-flight WiFi service for over four years, but today most Southwest passengers will find that going online is still something that happens on the ground, not in the air. Even if a Southwest plane has the 'WiFi hump' (see image) and is labeled as a WiFi HotSpot, it doesn't mean the service will be turned on during the flight.
WiFi antenna 'hump' in front of tail of Southwest plane
Southwest's goal of in-flight Internet service has had its challenges in getting airborne. A brief history of their communications on the topic:
53 months ago - In an interview about restructuring fuel contracts, SWA CEO Gary Kelly mentions that his airline is considering adding WiFi service. Kelly is quoted as saying,
"We are very seriously exploring that. We'd be acutely interested in the cost of doing that. It would be a very exciting development if we could make that work."
25 months ago - Southwest announces that testing is completed and that they will start equipping planes with WiFi in the Spring of 2010.
20 months ago - Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Management Dave Ridley states in SWA's blog, Nuts About Southwest, admits, "... the road to onboard wi-fi has been a long one...," but said that starting the 2nd quarter of 2010, SWA will start installing WiFi on 15 planes a month and increasing it to 25 planes a month. He added: