Southwest’s full statement about Wi-Fi fleet-wide equipage

Southwest Airlines and Row 44 are continuing plans to roll out wi-fi beginning in the first quarter of 2010. Beginning this fall, Southwest will be moving to the next step of certifying Southwest’s full fleet with plans to begin fleetwide rollout of the Row 44 satellite service in the first quarter of 2010. The airline has been testing the service on four aircraft since Feb. 2009 and has received fantastic Customer feedback on the product.

“We have concluded our testing for inflight wi-fi and are very happy with both the technical performance of the system and the response of Customers who have used it,” said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Management. “We are pleased to be continuing with our plans to offer satellite-enabled broadband access through California-based Row 44.”

“Row 44 is thrilled to be the in-flight wi-fi service of choice for one of the most Customer-focused airlines in the world,” said John Guidon, Row 44 Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited about moving forward and delivering Southwest’s Customers a rich menu of in-flight connectivity and entertainment options.”

During the testing phase, Customers have been utilizing the service for anything from e-mail to streaming video. Those interested in using the service during the test period have had the opportunity to log on to the service via their own personal wi-fi enabled device (laptops, iPhones, wi-fi enabled smart phones, etc). Additionally, the airline has been testing a variety of price points for the service and will continue testing price points through the end of 2009.

Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience. Southwest offers a very comfortable ride with all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom with a young all-Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), the nation’s largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 67 cities (with service to Milwaukee starting Nov. 1, 2009) in 34 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,200 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide.

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6 Responses to Southwest’s full statement about Wi-Fi fleet-wide equipage

  1. alloycowboy August 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    Hey Mary,

    I gather with Southwest Airlines commmiting to Row 44, that this is going to be start of the airliner wi-fi buying spree. Is there a limitation on how many airplanes the system can handle do to band width limitations? Is it a possibility that if a airline doesn’t react quick enough they won’t be any bandwidth left for them? Just curious?

  2. Mary Kirby August 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm #

    I just got off the phone with Row 44. They believe bandwidth will become a problem for Aircell, particularly as the skies grow crowded with Gogo-equipped aircraft. Row 44 claims ATG folks will eventually run into spectrum issues (and require more). Row 44 says there is enough transponders to keep Row 44-equipped aircraft bandwidth-happy.

  3. Mary Kirby August 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    I should add that I’m rather certain Aircell would disagree with this assessment.

  4. The Sarge August 21, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Well done, Row44. Hopefully this will give them the lifeline they need to get in with “Continited” and seal the deal with the creepy Eskimo in Seattle.

    And isn’t it adorable how Aircell and Row44 seem to always paw at one another about who offers better bandwidth, more bandwidth, cheaper bandwidth. Maybe they should both shut their pie holes and worry about their own products.

    I always tell my new recruits you can tell a lot more about someone who speaks ill of another, more so than what ill is spoken of that person. It makes a certain impression. Enough is enough, ladies!

    Anyone know what did it for them?

    Again, kudos to Row44!

  5. RoadWarrior August 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    From what I gather, Aircell won the FCC Spectrum Auction back in 2006 for the air to ground communications. Everyone thought they were going to corner the market on airborne Wi-Fi. But as Mary has stated, they might have issues as it becomes crowded with bits and bytes in the skies.

    This should be good for Row 44 and Southwest. According to their website, the antenna and system is a communications satellite technology which will not limit them to the Wi-Fi spectrum Aircell is now committed to. If Aircell gets so far into bed with their GoGo, they can see a long road of backtracking once the skies are clogged with new airwaves.

    Row 44 will be offering connectivity, communications, and entertainment. I’m keeping my money on them and hoping they succeed because I travel all over the U.S. and would love to see a one stop shop. It sounds like Row 44 is the closest at providing that.

    Now if we could only get those flying cars we were promised when we were kids. Glad to see the future is becoming reality.


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