Experience The Skies

There is a perception that flying low cost airlines means a lack of inflight entertainment options on board. Southwest Airlines is breaking the rules by announcing that it will offer complimentary in-flight movies on board selected flights starting November 1, 2018. This is the third upgrade the airline introduced to improve the customer experience during flight this year.


Southwest Airlines

Dallas based Southwest Airlines operates the biggest domestic network in the world with over 4,000 weekday departures.  It has a fleet of Boeing 737 aircrafts each equipped with an entertainment system on board which includes more than 30 first run and classic movies. The airline operated a pay-per-use model for these movies at US$5 each previously. This all changed on November 1, 2018 as the pay component was lifted.


Southwest Airlines offers complimentary in flight movies on all flights starting November 1, 2018
Southwest Airlines offers complimentary in flight movies on all flights starting November 1, 2018 (Image courtesy of Southwest Airlines)

What Complimentary Entertainment Options Are Available?

Besides movies, customers already receive the following complimentary options on board most domestic and domestic portions of international flights:

Southwest mobile app and entertainment portal –

  • 16 Live TV channels
  • On demand TV content
  • Flight tracker and destination city guides
  • Games
  • iHeartRadio® live streaming music and podcasts
  • Messaging with iMessage and Whatsapp (must download these applications in advance of departure)

The latter two items were added to the complimentary list in May and September this year.

Seatback pocket –

  • Southwest The Magazine

Additionally, customers can pay US$8 per device per day to gain Wi-Fi internet access when travelling on Southwest flights. Wi-Fi internet access will continue to be complimentary for the airline’s Rapid Rewards® A-List Preferred members.


How Do Customers Access Entertainment On Board?

The Inflight Entertainment Portal is offered across the Southwest fleet on WiFi-enabled aircraft. Customers can access the onboard entertainment options through their own personal device (mobile, iPad, tablet, or laptop) by turning on 1. WiFi access, 2. connecting to the “SouthwestWiFi” SSID, and 3. navigating to www.Southwestwifi.com. It is not necessary to purchase WiFi in order to use the free inflight entertainment onboard. To maximize use of all entertainment options, customers should download the Southwest® mobile app. The iOS and Android versions can be found in the App Store and Google Play Store.


What Next?

While the airline has not announced additional details, it is continuing to explore new on board experience upgrades through the entertainment portal to be introduced in the future. In a future post, Experience The Skies will discuss how different airlines and airports use entertainment and other on board activities to ease customers’ boredom while improving ancillary revenue streams.


About Larry Leung and Experience The Skies

Larry Leung is the Director of Research and Strategy at Experience The Skies. He is a certified avgeek, a public speaker and a dessert and design enthusiast. Contact him through LinkedIn, Twitter or email.

Experience The Skies is a consulting company based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in the travel industry with focus on the assessment, competitive analysis and development of loyalty programs, technologies, marketing, ancillary revenue solutions. Find out how Experience The Skies can assist in evaluating the entire customer journey from booking to the travel experience by contacting general@experiencetheskies.com or follow other posts on TwitterFacebookFlipboard, and Instagram.