Southwest Now Offering Gate-To-Gate WiFi Access

Until yesterday, Southwest had been the only major airline that hadn’t taken advantage of the FAA’s long-awaited approval for passengers to use portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing. But now Southwest has not only joined that group, but it says it will allow passengers to use the in-plane WiFi from the moment they sit down on a plane until the time they crowd into the aisle to deplane.

Southwest claims it is currently the only airline to make its WiFi available on the ground, as the other carriers use a service that generally does not operate below several thousand feet in the air. As The Verge points out, United has a similar WiFi setup to Southwest, so it’s possible that the airline could offer this service to its passengers.

Southwest says it won’t increase the $8/device fee for WiFi, even though the extended use of the service could add anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours to its availability, depending on tarmac delays.

“We know this is something Customers have wanted for some time now, and we’re excited to give them the freedom to use personal devices while in the air and on the ground,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer in a statement.