If there’s one “first world problem” that’s annoying on flights, it’s when there’s no internet. The second most annoying? Spotty internet that goes in and out. And the third most annoying is, of course, slow internet. One airline is trying to fix that latter one on their flights.
Back in May, we reported that Southwest was experimenting with free Wi-Fi on select flights. It was part of a test to upgrade the airline’s Wi-Fi, so passengers could enjoy faster internet while flying.
The test must have worked to Southwest’s advantage because the airline now expects nearly half of their 750(ish) planes to have this upgraded Wi-Fi by January. Looking forward, they hope to have all their planes updated by June, 2023.
The new Wi-Fi is ten times faster than the airline’s old in-flight internet service and so far customer satisfaction surveys have shown customers are happier with the faster speeds and fewer instances of the internet not working.
The new equipment is being provided by Anuvu, the carrier’s longstanding vendor.
Will it be free?
Although Southwest experimented with their higher-speed internet being free back in May, they don’t plan on that model for the long term. Then again, they don’t have plans to increase their price from the current $8 they charge today, even if the service is faster.
As of this writing, JetBlue is the only airline that offers free Wi-Fi to all customers. Beginning in 2023, Hawaiian is planning on offering free Wi-Fi via Elon Musk’s StarLink satellite service, but only between the Hawaiian Islands and the continental U.S, Asia and Oceania; it won’t be available for inter-island service. Delta CEO Ed Bastian has said he’d like his airline to offer free Wi-Fi…but, of course, we haven’t seen that yet.
Still and all, even if we have to pay for it, faster Wi-Fi is still better than slower Wi-Fi.
H/T: Travel Weekly
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