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Wired in Flight

Cindy Loose

Southwest Airlines in the next nine months plans to add wireless technology to some cabins as a test of consumer reaction to being able to e-mail during a flight, among other things. Since it was mentioned as part of Southwest's plan to find ways to raise money through ancillary services, we're assuming Southwest plans to charge extra for the service. It's safe to assume they'll also be trying to figure out whether the service would convince a large number of people to choose Southwest because they could be wired during flight.

It's something I think I'd be willing to pay for, although I'm not sure how much.

Meanwhile, while Southwest is looking for new ways to raise money while keeping base fares low, the airline has no plans to charge for checked baggage--something Spirit is now doing--or for paper tickets or calls to its reservation center.

By Cindy Loose |  April 23, 2007; 8:35 AM ET  | Category:  Cindy Loose
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I think this is a great move by Southwest. Currently, Southwest offers no inflight entertainmet. Unless you include the flight crew. So this would not be a matter of choosing to watch the movie, listen to the headsets or check email. You would only have the one option.

Posted by: Amy | April 23, 2007 8:01 PM

This has been looked at by every airline in the industry. The problem is that the amount is costs to provide the service and the amount people are willing to pay for it is wildly out of wack. I think I read somewhere it costs $50k to outfit the airplane, plus continuing costs for conectivity and maintenance and passengers expected the service to be free, or at most $5.

Posted by: Rick | April 23, 2007 8:30 PM

Southwest should focus on getting changing tables installed in their lavatories first. We took a 5 hour flight to Las Vegas last year w/ our toddler. Couple hours in and we discovered that SW doesn't have anywhere to change a diaper onboard the aircraft. The stewardess gave us a trash bag and told us to change the diaper at our seat.

Every other major airline we've flown has the drop down changing stations installed in their lavatories, why doesn't Southwest?

Posted by: Mac | April 24, 2007 9:51 AM

Love, love, love the idea, if it can be kept affordable. Wait a minute, that would mean I would not have that one hour reprive while my boss is in the air between DC and Chicago. Never mind.

PS I will also pay a substantial supplement for diaper-free flights.

Posted by: Karen | April 25, 2007 1:55 PM

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