Southwest Airlines to test satellite broadband service

Southwest Airlines said it will commence a wireless Internet trial using Row 44 Ku band service by the end of the year. The trial will begin on one Boeing 737-700 followed by three other Boeing 737s in the first quarter.

There is a split between airlines using Row 44's service and Aircell's Gogo service. Alaska Airlines has chosen to use satellite service from Row 44, which offers an in-flight broadband service based on Hughes' satellite network system. It did so because the Gogo service doesn't work going to Hawaii, Alaska or Mexico. Alaska has said it plans to roll out Row 44's service across its fleet beginning this year.

In August, American Airlines launched Aircell's Gogo mobile broadband service on three coast-to-coast flights, making the service available for $12.95 per flight on its 15 Boeing 767-200 aircraft. The service is still considered to be in test mode, however. Delta Airlines took the plunge as the first U.S. airline to offer in-flight WiFi access on a substantial number of aircraft. The company said it will soon WiFi-enable some 330 domestic aircraft, offering Aircell's Gogo service for $9.95 on flights of three hours or less and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours.  

For more:
- read Air Transport Intelligence

Related articles:
Alaska Airlines opts for satellite over Aircell service
American Airlines launches WiFi on some coast-to-coast flights