Southwest Airlines Previews Live TV Inflight On Five Aircraft

Southwest Airlines Offers Customers the Opportunity to Watch Live Sports and News Programming

Jun 28, 2012

DALLAS, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), in conjunction with Row 44, is taking the next step in wireless inflight entertainment with a preview of live TV on five of the carrier's aircraft, with plans to expand to 20 aircraft by mid-July.  Customers on these select planes will now have the option to purchase live TV consisting of seven sports and news channels, and view on their personal devices.

"We are excited to give our Customers new options for inflight entertainment," said Dave Ridley, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer and Sr. Vice President Marketing and Revenue Management. "We believe our Customers will enjoy the opportunity to access live TV, in addition to WiFi, using their personal devices, and we look forward to their feedback on the product." 

"Southwest continues to demonstrate bold leadership within the airline industry, taking innovative steps to improve the travel experience for their Customers," said John LaValle, Row 44 Chief Executive Officer. "Row 44 believes live inflight television is a highly desired element of inflight entertainment.  As a trailblazer in the travel industry, Southwest is the ideal partner to launch live TV, and like Southwest, we are keen to learn from their Customers' experiences with this next evolution of our platform."

Flight Attendants will notify the Southwest Customers who are onboard a TV-enabled WiFi aircraft. Those interested in using the TV service during this preview period will have the opportunity to log on to the service through the WiFi portal via their personal WiFi-enabled device (tablets, laptops, WiFi-enabled smart phones, etc).  Live TV is offered as a separate charge from WiFi, so Customers do not have to purchase WiFi to purchase live TV.  The airline will evaluate different price points from $3 to $8 throughout the trial period, with instructions on how to access live TV available via a link on the Southwest Airlines WiFi portal.

Southwest Airlines will offer seven live TV channels on these five aircraft so that Customers can stay abreast of the latest news or sports scores while flying at 35,000 feet:

  • NBC Sports
  • MLB live games from MLB.com
  • NFL Network
  • CNBC
  • MSNBC
  • Fox News
  • Fox Business News

The Row 44 system not only supports this new feature, but it was created with live TV in mind. Customers who are watching TV are accessing a separate portion of the bandwidth specifically dedicated for that use. Both live TV and WiFi usage will be monitored to determine if they perform together seamlessly, and if successful, live TV will be available to all WiFi-enabled planes by the end of the year.

Southwest Airlines maintains the world's largest satellite-based WiFi fleet with more than 250 connected aircraft and plans to equip the entirety of their Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s (70 percent of its total fleet) by mid-2013. Row 44 offers Southwest Airlines the ability to be flexible as the airline's needs evolve, and the satellite-based technology ensures that Customers' access to WiFi and live TV will be uninterrupted during near-International flights over water.

For a look at the Southwest Airlines WiFi portal, including visuals of live TV instructions, please visit www.southwest.com/wifi.

About Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers—offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. Southwest serves 73 cities in 38 states and is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit southwest.com/cares to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has more than 46,000 Employees systemwide.

About Row 44

Row 44, Inc. is the leading in-flight WiFi and device-based entertainment provider for commercial airlines. Row 44 enables airlines worldwide to provide their travelers with high-speed Internet connectivity, access to world-class entertainment content, including live television and streaming Video on Demand, and local activities that can be booked en route. Aboard more than 300 planes worldwide, Row 44 has the largest fleet of high-speed WiFi-enabled planes that operate over land and sea. The Row 44 platform uses the most reliable, sustainable technology for connectivity available today to deliver airline passengers a quality travel experience, and airlines incremental revenue and growth opportunities. To learn more, please visit www.row44.com.

www.southwest.com

SOURCE Southwest Airlines

For further information: Southwest Airlines, +1-214-792-4847