Southwest Airlines is planning to make its in-flight messaging service free across its entire fleet, with the complimentary offering already available on some planes, the company said Tuesday.
Southwest previously charged $2 for internet access that allowed passengers to send messages using iMessage, WhatsApp or Viber. The company said offering the service for free “is one more step in the direction of enhancing our onboard entertainment options.”
Southwest’s current in-flight entertainment options include free live television and recently added free music streaming through a partnership with iHeartRadio. Full in-flight internet access costs $8 and includes messaging.
Free in-flight messaging is currently only available on some aircraft, and the carrier “hopes” to eventually roll it out fleetwide, a spokeswoman said. In the meantime, passengers can check the inflight entertainment portal to see if their plane offers free messaging.
The change, first reported by USA Today, brings Southwest closer in line to rivals like Delta and Alaska Airlines, which already offer free in-flight messaging. inRead invented by Teads
American Airlines announced plans to introduce its own free version of the service last year, but those never came to fruition as the carrier chose to focus on other aspects of its in-flight entertainment offering, according to USA Today.