Southwest Airlines is planning to have Wi-Fi on all of its planes by the end of 2017, the carrier announced.
The news follows agreements by Southwest with both Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Global Eagle Entertainment.
The Panasonic deal provides for the company’s global communications services including Wi-Fi and live television to be offered on a portion of Southwest’s fleet, with the first Panasonic-equipped planes set to enter service in late 2017.
The GEE agreement extends Southwest’s existing deal with the firm to offer Airconnect connectivity.
Next year, Southwest is retiring its non-Wi-Fi-equipped 737-300 aircraft, replacing them with new Boeing 737-8 MAX planes.
And yes, the Wi-Fi will cover flights across the U.S. and “near international” destinations (in other words, Caribbean).
“As the largest domestic airline in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, carrying more than 100 million Customers a year, we are committed to providing an enhanced inflight experience for our Customers,” said Ryan Green, Vice President Marketing for Southwest Airlines. “We’ve led the way in Customer experience, being the first U.S. carrier to offer gate-to-gate connectivity to our Customers while having the foresight that Customers prefer to use their own devices to stay connected. Going forward, our Customers will have the capability to stay connected on Southwest Airlines flights with even more bandwidth at their disposal.”
— Caribbean Journal Staff