No Sopranos on board: Southwest seeks to entertain

Southwest Airlines made a teeny, tiny move toward in-flight entertainment by agreeing a deal with the A&E cable network l1.jpg to set up a ‘micro-site’ linked to the airline’s website that lets users download A&E shows to their personal laptops or to create a CD for viewing in-flight on a personal entertainment device. Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly has told reporters and analysts that the airline is considering several forms of in-flight entertainment. This is a major reversal of the airline’s long-standing belief, as expressed by founder and former chief executive Herb Kelleher, that “we don’t need in-flight entertainment because we have our wise-cracking flight attendants for that!” Kelly also said that the airline has issued a request for proposals to equip some of its planes to with on-board broadband capabilities.

The cable network, which rebroadcasts popular series like the popular Mafia-themed comedy, “The Sopranos” as well as its own programs, will also set up ‘entertainment stations’ at Southwest gates at various airports; this closed-circuit network will provide passengers with wireless access to A&E shows that can be downloaded directly to a passenger’s laptop before the flight. Southwest airport staff will also distribute free CDs with A&E content to passengers in the gate area.

This agreement with A&E, formerly the Arts and Entertainment Network, however, requires no special on-board equipment but instead acknowledges the fact that increasing numbers of flyers bring personal entertainment devices on board. The cable network features such shows as “Confessions of a Matchmaker” and “Dog the Bounty Hunter”. These are A&E-produced shows, and “the Sopranos, “CSI: Miami” and “24” will not be available.

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One Response to No Sopranos on board: Southwest seeks to entertain

  1. Phillip Martin 8 September, 2007 at 12:57 am #

    Wanta save money on entertainment? Just let the short skirts on board. Get rid of the MODESTY patrol. Obviouly they don’t have enough to do if thet are hassling passagers. Hire the young women that was on TV as a spokes person. Use the salaries of the MODESTY patrol to pay her and save yourself more money by getting her to drop the lawsuit.

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