At long last, everyone’s favorite discount airline is pushing the pedal on WiFi. Southwest will be working with Row44 to get wireless connectivity on to its planes starting in the second quarter of this year.
Southwest will begin equipping planes at a rate of 15 a month, but will ratchet up that rate to 30. Given that Southwest has more than 500 planes in its fleet, Engadget estimates that full fleet wide WiFi will be in place early in 2012. Of course, Southwest could do it in less time, but given its history of hesitance on the matter it seems unlikely that we will see them exceed their stated speed goals.
While Southwest is not the first, or really even third, to the punch in this department, there is good news to be had. According to a tip, Southwest might take its price war even to the WiFi world. While a number of other airlines are charging in the teens for a connection, Southwest is charging just $4 in testing.
Southwest currently has four WiFi equipped planes, or less than 1% of their fleet.
I have long called for WiFi on Southwest, even at one point writing a song about my wish for my favorite airline to stop locking me in a tube and hurling me across the nation without email. Now the best American ariline will have what we have always wanted, flash games at 35,000 feet.
The Southwest WiFi ditty, as written by your humble servant:
Hey Southwest, we are best friends,
I love you so much, me you and your overhead travel bins,
But lately we been getting along quite badly,
Because you hate in flight wifi, making me fly sadly,
Southwest, my laptop feels unloved
Bereft of connection it’s pathetic like a wingless dove,
I cry out to you in internet-free agony,
You offer five dollar beers like they are fine chardonnay,
I ask, excuse me Virgin America, what do you have to offer?
They reply everything you want is in the proffer,
I sigh that they hate my airports,
Leaving me shivering in the connectivity cold with open Ethernet ports,
Southwest my love, please catch up to the game,
After all we only love you because you are cheap, and our budgets change
Oh never mind, you just gave me free peanuts, brb.