Sky Talk

Southwest Airlines looking at new in-flight technology

Southwest Airlines plane taxis in front of the Dallas-based carrier’s headquarters at Dallas Love Field.
Southwest Airlines plane taxis in front of the Dallas-based carrier’s headquarters at Dallas Love Field. aahles@star-telegram.com

Southwest Airlines is checking out the in-flight Wi-Fi market.

The Dallas-based carrier confirmed that it recently sent out a “request for proposal” to several in-flight technology providers.

“We need to stay current and smart about our options to diversify the network; our RFP efforts demonstrates our commitment to surveying the industry and what this ever-changing environment can offer,” Southwest spokeswoman Michelle Agnew in an e-mail. “We want to stay ahead of what our Customers have come to expect when flying with Southwest Airlines.”

But Agnew added that Southwest is continuing to work with its existing Wi-Fi partner, Global Eagle Entertainment. Southwest has used Global Eagle Entertainment’s Row 44 product for its in-flight Wi-Fi system and currently charges passengers $8 per flight to use the Wi-Fi.

The airline also offers passengers free live and on-demand TV that they can stream on their own devices. That service is also provided by Global Eagle Entertainment.

Southwest’s survey comes less than a month after American Airlines filed a lawsuit against its in-flight Wi-Fi provider, Gogo. American later dropped the suit after the two sides agreed that American could look at alternate technologies and Gogo would be able to submit a proposal.

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