Southwest Airlines, Row 44 get clever about in-flight Wi-Fi

Row 44 is planning a big press event at next week’s World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition, and with good reason.

The company is about to unveil a new ancillary-revenue tool that “enables airlines to monetize in-flight broadband even among passengers who do not pay for full Internet access” and will be “the first revenue service of its kind flying”, says Row 44.

The announcement will name several content, advertising and technology partners, adds the firm.

Southwest Row 44 antenna.jpg

So, you may be asking, does this new business strategy for in-flight Wi-Fi involve some sort of advertising-based access? Row 44 isn’t giving any details until next week. But, let me be the first to say – Oh, very nice!

Row 44 is currently installed on four Southwest Airlines 737s and a single Alaska Airlines 737.

Southwest has opted to rollout the system across its fleet beginning in the first quarter, and Alaska is expected to make a fleet-wide announcement any day now.

Row 44′s announcement comes at a time when a growing number of industry stakeholders are questioning the viability of fee-for-service models for in-flight Internet both now and a few years from now.

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4 Responses to Southwest Airlines, Row 44 get clever about in-flight Wi-Fi

  1. alloycowboy October 2, 2009 at 12:34 am #

    So just guessing off the top of my head they are going to make us view advertising in exchange for a complementary free internet connection. This way they can get everyone hooked and then they will pimp out their high-speed connection for a nice tidy profit.

  2. alloycowboy October 2, 2009 at 1:03 am #

    Opps! Sorry Mary for the all the posts, it kept timing out, so I thought it lost my inital post.

  3. Mushroom October 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    So Row44′s groundbreaking model is linked to advertising revenue?

    Brave, brave move in current climes when companies in other sectors on a similar diet are falling like flies….

    Dotcom Deja Vu

  4. Mary Kirby October 6, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    No worries. Happens to me all the time :)

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