Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with Row 44, is taking the next step in wireless in-flight entertainment with a preview of live TV on five of the carrier’s aircraft, with 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.
“We are excited to give our Customers new options for in-flight entertainment,” said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines chief marketing. “
“We believe our Customers will enjoy the opportunity to access live TV, in addition to Wi-Fi, 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 Wi-Fi aircraft.
Those interested in using the TV service during this preview period will have the opportunity to log on to the service through the Wi-Fi portal via their personal Wi-Fi-enabled device (tablets, laptops, Wi-Fi-enabled smart phones, etc).
Live TV is offered as a separate charge from Wi-Fi, so Customers do not have to purchase Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi 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
- Fox News
- Fox Business News
The Row 44 system not only supports this new feature, but it was created with live TV in mind.
Customers who are watching TV are accessing a separate portion of the bandwidth specifically dedicated for that use.
Both live TV and Wi-Fi usage will be monitored to determine if they perform together seamlessly, and if successful, live TV will be available to all Wi-Fi-enabled planes by the end of the year.