Southwest Airlines and satellite television provider DISH yesterday announced a new deal to bring free live and on-demand TV to Southwest's 400 Wi-Fi-enabled planes. While the service is accessible from many Internet-connected devices, Southwest and DISH highlighted compatibility with Apple's iOS devices and gave away roughly 100 iPad 2 units to customers on a Southwest flight.

Beginning today for Southwest Customers using iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, or most other Internet-ready personal devices, DISH is providing free access to live TV and up to 75 on-demand shows on the airline's more than 400 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft.

The news was unveiled by DISH's "Boston Guys" who surprised each of the passengers aboard a Southwest flight from Boston to Baltimore with a free iPad 2 on behalf of the two companies. Southwest Customers and Crew greeted the news with spirited applause, as for the first time, Customers flying on Southwest Airlines can stream directly to their personal devices live TV and up to 75 on demand titles for free, a savings of $5 per day.


As noted by The Wall Street Journal, the deal will see advertising from DISH used extensively throughout the Southwest customer experience, including on flight confirmation emails, airport signage, and in 30-second commercials that will be required viewing before free TV can be accessed.

Additional details on the TV service aboard Southwest flights is posted on the airline's site.

Top Rated Comments

ToomeyND Avatar
107 months ago
I flew to Vegas on SW over the weekend and they had this

The catch is you still have to pay $8 for Wi-Fi

You don't "have to." Wifi and streaming TV are separate. If you don't have email/twitter/facebook/tumblr/macrumors to tend to, then you can kick back and watch a little tv at no cost. Maybe if you are nice, the flight attendants will even bring you a coke. ;)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Plutonius Avatar
107 months ago
Now I can watch "Snakes on a Plane" while flying :D.

Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KPOM Avatar
107 months ago
The thinner cushions on SW make them too low for me. That was another complaint I had, plus I felt like the seat was trying to make me slide forward It was a very odd feeling. The flight was less than half full so I moved around to a few other seats to see if maybe I just had a bad seat but they were all like that.

I've flown on AA since they added rows and had more legroom than I had on my most recent SW flight. Plus on AA and other airlines I can opt for more legroom by paying more, which is worth it to me.

I'm waiting for JetBlue and Virgin America to start flying routes to places I travel. I've got friends that fly on them and have nothing but good things to say.
I've flown JetBlue. The planes are nice, but they are limited and their strategy of locating at airports like JFK just begs for delays. Virgin anything is supposed to be good. They are niche airlines, though.

I can't say I agree with every move Gary Kelly has made (e.g. the new no-show policy is too harsh, IMO), but among the big airlines Southwest is still the best, IMO. I don't like the "Economy Plus" sections on other airlines. First, they provide almost too much legroom (short of being able to lie down), putting the table too far away, without adding a millimeter of width. Second, all the status holders get them for "free" meaning that fewer are available, and the rest of us just get 2 fewer inches than normal.

Beyond that, Southwest has other advantages. Open seating just makes a lot of sense to me. The employees seem to like working there (I couldn't say that about the flight attendants on my American flight the other day). They are pretty good about fees, too. Most of their ancillary fees are for things most people can live without (e.g. early bird check-in). The biggest difference is that Southwest actively discourages standby since they only allow it with full fares. It probably hurts them with business travelers but it also helps make it easier for them to predict flight volumes.

I've taken advantage of the "no change fee" policy a lot. As soon as I know I'm traveling for business, I'm on the site making a reservation, knowing that I can change it later if something comes up. The other airlines like to nickel-and-dime, with some of the worst ones even charging for carry-on luggage and non-alcoholic beverages. It will be interesting to see if others follow Southwest's lead and strike deals with media companies to offer entertainment with no extra fees.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sjinsjca Avatar
107 months ago
Nice news, as a frequent (A-List Preferred) Southwest flyer.

But I'm becoming less frequent... their fare prices have escalated alarmingly.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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