For Wi-Fi, Southwest Airlines uses a company called Row 44 for satellite-based inflight Wi-Fi, while AirTran uses Aircell for ground-based internet. In addition, AirTran has XM Satellite Radio provided by jetBlue subsidary LiveTV. What will happen to this inflight entertainment as a result of the merger? Which Wi-Fi service will they use? Will they keep the XM service, considering that jetBlue is Southwest’s top rival?
Announced post-merger announcement:
Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:29 - Dave Ridley
In my last WiFi post, I promised that we would reveal the remaining details, including the price, in late October.
Today, I am pleased to announce that, after many months of price tests, Customer surveys, and industry observations, we are revealing a special introductory flat rate of $5! That’s right … for only $5 you can have full access to the Internet from departure to arrival. We plan to stay at a flat rate of $5 for all flight lengths and device types (laptop or handheld) as we continue to add to our growing number of WiFi-enabled aircraft. As of today, we have 32 planes installed with the Row 44 system, and we are adding to that number weekly.
As far as XM service, keep in mind that Frontier offers satellite service, and I believe from DirecTV. I don’t know what will happen to it, however with the option of internet radio and iTunes streaming over WiFi, you may have better options.
I remember reading something a while back about inflight wi fi and data intensive applications such as internet radio. Namely, the services would be blocked due to the strain on the system. Also, with too many people using this at a time, the system would slow down
They will go with whatever service gives them a better deal. The airlines have very little invested in onboard wifi and make very little off it. The equipment is pretty much 100% owned by the supplier and they make most of the money.