Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Flights used to be much less entertaining. If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to hope there would be one playing during your flight at the time you wanted to watch it. If you wanted to listen to music, you needed to remember to bring an iPod with you (or a Discman or Walkman for some of us). If you wanted to watch live TV, you were pretty much out of luck. Thankfully, things have changed.
These days, airlines often feature a plethora of inflight entertainment, including movies, flight trackers, and TV shows.
Today, we’re going to focus on the inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi options for Southwest Airlines. While many travelers still lump Southwest into the budget airline category, it has a surprisingly strong inflight entertainment platform that offers movies, on-demand TV, and even live TV on select channels.
Let’s get to the details of Southwest’s inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi so you know how to access it on your next flight.
Southwest Inflight Entertainment
Southwest Airlines offers an inflight entertainment portal that includes many free features. You can watch live and on-demand TV, watch movies, listen to music, and follow along with the flight tracker so you know just how much flight time remains.
Keep in mind that the free inflight entertainment, including movies, TV, and music, is NOT available for the full duration of international flights. However, you can generally use the Wi-Fi until you actually cross an international border.
How To Access Wi-Fi on Your Southwest Flight
- Turn on your Wi-Fi-enabled device and set it to airplane mode. Make sure your Wi-Fi is still on while in airplane mode.
- Go to your available wireless networks and select “Southwest WiFi” to connect.
- Launch your Internet browser for immediate access to the Southwest Airlines Hotspot portal, or type southwestwifi.com in the address bar.
Cost of Wi-Fi on Southwest Airlines
You can access the internet on a Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft for $8 per flight per device. This gets you access to browse the web, check emails, or access social media. However, Southwest also offers some inflight entertainment free of charge.Hot Tip:
Southwest used to charge $8 per device per day for Wi-Fi access but changed to $8 per device per flight in February of 2023.
Free Live TV
The Southwest inflight entertainment portal offers lots of free entertainment during your flight, including 12 live TV channels:
- Fox News
- NFL Network
Free On-demand TV
There is also a selection of free on-demand TV shows available to view during your flight. These change occasionally, but have included popular shows such as “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “Chopped,” and “Cocomelon.”Hot Tip:
Southwest is making improvements to inflight Wi-Fi speed and bandwidth in 2023 as well as adding USB-A and USB-C power ports to its newest planes.
You can view movies for free in the browser at any time during your flight.
You can listen to music during your flight for free with iHeartRadio.
If you would like to stay in contact with your friends and family during your flight, you can text via iMessage and WhatsApp for free.
How To Get FREE Wi-Fi on Southwest Flights
Inflight Wi-Fi is great … but it’s better when it’s free, right? Thankfully, Southwest offers 2 ways to get free Wi-Fi on flights.
Earn A-List Preferred Status
If you are an A-List Preferred member, you can access Southwest Wi-Fi for free.
To earn A-List Preferred status, you need to fly 50 qualifying one-way flights or earn 70,000 tier qualifying points in a calendar year.
Tier qualifying points are earned from purchasing a revenue flight or by using a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.
Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
The Southwest Performance Business card is the only Southwest credit card that includes free Wi-Fi as a perk. While it technically doesn’t offer unlimited free Wi-Fi, it’s pretty close.
With this card, you’ll get 365 $8 Wi-Fi credits to use on Southwest Airlines each year. All you need to do is purchase Wi-Fi with your Southwest Performance Business card and you’ll receive a statement credit that will reimburse the charges.
The airline also offers lots of free inflight entertainment including live TV, music, and movies.
If you would prefer full access to the internet, you can purchase it for $8 per flight, though loyal Southwest customers who achieve A-List Preferred status or who have a Southwest Performance Business card get this fee waived.
Featured Image Credit: Adobe Stock/ leungchopan
Frequently Asked Questions
You can purchase Wi-Fi for $8 per flight per device.
Anyone can access free TV and movies on any Wi-Fi enabled Southwest flight. If you are an A-List Preferred member, you can get the $8 fee for Wi-Fi waived. If you charge the $8 Wi-Fi fee to a Southwest Performance Business card, you’ll get a credit for the charge, up to 365 times per year.
Yes, on February 21, 2023, Southwest changed the cost of its Wi-Fi from $8 per day to $8 per flight. That means if you have a connection, you’ll need to pay $16 instead of $8 to have Wi-Fi on both flights.
The short answer is no. Southwest prohibits access to some high-bandwidth applications, websites, and video conferencing services, like FaceTime. Potentially offensive content may be restricted, too.
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