Southwest Airlines is adding free in-flight messaging to their suite onboard connectivity options.
Most of us would prefer full wifi on a long journey, but on short-haul flights or on older carriers, sometimes wifi just isn’t an option (or if it is, an extremely expensive option). Text messaging can do the job of letting loved ones know you’ll be late on arrival, and in the meantime, you can just read a pre-downloaded book.
Now it looks like Southwest Airlines is inching ever-closer to the 21st century by offering their passengers free in-flight messaging on wifi-capable aircraft. Previously, Southwest charged $2 per flight for the service, which allowed passengers to send messages via iMessage, WhatsApp, and Viber.
Southwest’s new complimentary messaging can be used to send messages via iMessage or WhatsApp, making Viber the odd man out with this new service. The app must be downloaded beforehand, otherwise you’ll need to shell out for the $8 full wifi.
If you do shell out for the $8 in-flight wifi service, then your messaging is already free. Which is a plus.
To see if your flight has in-flight messaging, download the Southwest Airlines in-flight entertainment portal and check out your flight status. It should say whether or not your flight offers free messaging.
As we might have alluded to before, Southwest is hardly the first to offer free messaging. CNBC reports that Delta offered the service a year ago, which works on iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger too. Alaska Airlines started the service in 2017 as well, and United is offering free in-flight messaging on certain wifi-capable aircraft just as Southwest is.
United is also looking to expand their free messaging service to their entire fleet, but it’ll likely have to wait on some hardware upgrades.
American Airlines planned to offer free messaging but then failed to follow through. Their excuse was to focus on other areas of the business for improvement, making American Airlines one of the last large US operators to not offer free messaging.