Others, including Hawaiian Airlines, will be the first major airline to provide Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service to customers on board their flights starting next year. Meanwhile, Delta is conducting Starlink tests to follow suit.
While all this is happening, Southwest has opted to offer free internet to passengers aboard 40 of its Boeing 737s over the next six weeks.
The airline says this is part of a test to provide faster internet to more travelers.
According to a statement delivered to staff last week, the airline has equipped 40 of its planes with new technology for this free Wi-Fi trial.
Southwest’s free Wi-Fi will be available from May 4 through June 10, said Tony Roach, vice president of customer experience and customer relations.
On normal days, the carrier charges $8 per day for Wi-Fi but restricts access to several high-bandwidth sites such as Netflix, HBO Max, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, but not with the trial.
“This trial will allow Customers to stream, browse, and engage on the internet at no cost just like other complimentary services,” Roach wrote.
“Our goal is to evaluate how the new hardware improves performance while delivering a reliable internet experience used by a large volume of customers,” he added.
Unfortunately, Southwest refuses to provide further information.
The one that has actually been announcing with great enthusiasm its new alliance with Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink to provide free Wi-Fi to passengers on long-haul flights by next year is Hawaiian Airlines.
“Historically, we’ve looked at our market and not seen great options over the Pacific. We actually don’t have any connectivity on our fleet today,” Avi Mannis, Hawaiian’s chief marketing and communications officer, told CNBC. “The options have been improving over time, but we have waited until there was a product offering… that we thought would live up to the expectations of our guests.”