Southwest Airlines to roll out inflight WiFi to entire fleet

Southwest Airlines said it will roll out inflight WiFi service to its entire fleet beginning in the first quarter 2010.

The airlines will be using service from Row 44, which provides high-speed Internet access via the Ku band satellites. The company is still determining pricing for the service but said it would continue testing different pricing points this year. Currently, passengers on certain WiFi-available flights pay between $2 and $12 per flight depending on travel distance and the type of device passengers are connecting. As such, an iPod Touch user may pay a different price than a laptop user.

Row 44 won FCC approval for its satellite-based airline broadband service earlier this month. The company plans to offer seamless in-cabin WiFi service throughout North America, Canada and Mexico. Row 44 said the system offers downlink data rates averaging 30 Mbps and 620 Kbps maximum in the uplink direction. Alaska Airlines has also tested Row 44's service. The service offers an advantage over rival Aircell's Gogo service in terms of providing WiFi service in Mexico, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii. Delta, United and American Airlines have all rolled out Aircell's service but not to all of their planes.

For more:
- see Gigaom

Related articles:
Row 44 wins FCC approval for inflight WiFi
Southwest Airlines to test satellite broadband service
Alaska Airlines opts for satellite over Aircell service
American Airlines launches WiFi on some coast-to-coast flights