Southwest Airlines Adds Live Concerts to its In-Air Entertainment

Imagine flying somewhere and getting settled in your assigned seat. You’re all ready to do some stuff for work, or maybe read a book, or watch a movie, or maybe you just plan on sleeping. And once you hit 35,000 feet, all of a sudden, surprise!, a concert starts on the plane.

Yes, really.

Thanks to a new deal with Warner Music Nashville, Southwest’s “pop-up concerts,” which have been happening on and off since 2011, will now be an official thing with a name: “Live at 35.” As per Southwest, “We take our love for Artists on the Rise to new heights in our ongoing series featuring one-of-a-kind performances onboard flights at 35,000 feet.”

To celebrate announcement made late last month, American country music singer-songwriter and Atlantic Records/WMN performer Devin Dawson played a show for passengers heading from Nashville to Philadelphia, after which he walked down the aisle and handed out souvenir guitar picks and CDs.

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Concerts are not announced ahead of time and since this is a relatively new enterprise, sometimes unexpected things happen during the show – in this case, a bad amp forced one of Dawson’s accompanying guitarists to turn into a second cameraman.

Live at 35 sounds like a great idea for those who enjoy pop-up concerts in unusual places. For other, well,  it seemed that some unexpected concert goers took to Twitter after the Dawson show to express their opinions – one attendee suggested that Southwest should focus on good food, leg room, and clean bathrooms, instead of in-flight concerts. Another tweeted that nobody asked for live bands, while yet another tweeted that free wifi on flights would be nice. Which bring up a good point – Southwest is apparently using the Live at 35 program to increase their passengers’ enjoyment of their flights; I get that. But why not simply focus on the things that passengers usually don’t like about flying? It’s an interesting question, don’t you think?

Anyway, the whole thing kind of reminds me of the pop-up shows that Icelandair has been experimenting with.  As for me, I’ll keep bringing my noise cancelling headphones with me.

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