Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with technology provider Row 44, is taking the next step in wireless inflight entertainment with a preview of live TV on five of the carrier's aircraft. Southwest plans to expand to 20 aircraft by mid-July. Customers on these select planes will now have the option to purchase live TV consisting of seven sports and news channels, and view on their personal devices.
Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer and Sr. Vice President Marketing and Revenue Management said: "We believe our customers will enjoy the opportunity to access live TV, in addition to WiFi, using their personal devices, and we look forward to their feedback on the product."
Flight Attendants will notify the Southwest customers who are onboard a TV-enabled WiFi aircraft. Those interested in using the TV service during this preview period will have the opportunity to log on to the service through the WiFi portal via their personal WiFi-enabled device (tablets, laptops, WiFi-enabled smart phones, etc).
Live TV is offered as a separate charge from WiFi, so customers do not have to purchase WiFi to purchase live TV. The airline will evaluate different price points from $3 to $8 throughout the trial period, with instructions on how to access live TV available via a link on the Southwest Airlines WiFi portal.
Southwest Airlines will offer seven live TV channels on these five aircraft so that Customers can stay abreast of the latest news or sports scores while flying at 35,000 feet: NBC Sports, MLB live games from MLB.com, NFL Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and Fox Business News.
Southwest says it has more than 250 WiFi connected aircraft and plans to equip the entirety of their Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s (70 percent of its total fleet) by mid-2013.