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Guide to Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi & Inflight Entertainment

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Katie Seemann

Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 27U.S. States Visited: 27

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure an...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 39U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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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.

Southwest’s inflight entertainment includes TV shows and movies. Image Credit: Southwest

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

  1. 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.
  2. Go to your available wireless networks and select “Southwest WiFi” to connect.
  3. Launch your Internet browser for immediate access to the Southwest Airlines Hotspot portal, or type in the address bar.
The Southwest inflight entertainment portal offers a flight tracker, free live TV, free on-demand TV, free music and movies, and access to the internet for $8 per device per flight. Image Credit:

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:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • CNBC
  • CNN
  • ESPN
  • FOX
  • Fox News
  • HGTV
  • NBC
  • NFL Network
  • TBS
  • USA

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.

Free Texting

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.

Bottom Line: The Southwest inflight entertainment portal offers free live and on-demand TV, music, and movies, as well as free texting. Wi-Fi access costs $8 per device per flight.

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.

A-List Preferred status comes with free Wi-Fi. Image Credit: Southwest

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.

When you pay for Southwest Wi-Fi with a Southwest Performance Business card, you’ll get the $8 charge refunded up to 365 times per year.
Bottom Line:

There are 2 ways to get free Wi-Fi on Southwest flights — earn A-List Preferred status or use the Southwest Performance Business card to pay for it and the charge will be refunded.

Final Thoughts

Southwest does a lot of things right, including free checked bags and not charging fees to change or cancel your flight.

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.

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.

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure and Forbes Advisor.


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jeff alley

October 20, 2018

I love the wifi, but every time I login from my phone and go to, I have to enter all of my credit card info. This is inconvenient prone to error as I’m typing on such a small keyboard. Can’t southwest just use my preferred card that is tied to my rewards account?

Katie Seemann

October 22, 2018

Hi Jeff, I agree – it would be great if you could charge the wifi cost to a saved credit card! That would make it even more convenient.

Raymond Ebanks

February 15, 2019

Why does my IP address say Los Angeles when I use Facebook on SouthWest’s inflight internet?

Erin Miller

February 16, 2019

Hi Raymond, please be advised we are not Southwest Airlines, nor are we an IT company so we really have no idea as to why this is the case. Maybe another reader can help you out…

Donovan Brennan

February 07, 2023

You’re probably connected to a Wi-Fi server that’s in or near Los Angeles.

Janine Christian

June 16, 2019

My husband has a Macbook and can’t watch movies on it on with Southwest. He can watch TV but movies will not work, any suggestions?

Jarrod West

June 17, 2019

Hi Janine,

Is this through the Southwest WiFi, or are you referring to movies that were downloaded to his laptop prior to the flight? Have you spoken with Southwest about this issue?


September 15, 2019

I’m having the same issue. I can watch TV but not movies streaming from airtime/Southwest app.

Jarrod West

September 16, 2019

Hi Keely,

Have you spoken with the Southwest service team about this issue? I’ve been able to watch movies without any issue through the Southwest app on my last few flights with them.


October 15, 2019

Have you watched movies on a MacBook? I watch movies also, but only the iOS devices work. The help says go to the app store and download Airtime or the free SW app (neither are available for OSx for Mac) just iOS for mobile devices. I have read the help online and it is inaccurate and not helpful. I have also reached out to SW, nothing back yet. Millions of Mac’s in use how can this be so hard on SW?

Jarrod West

October 18, 2019

Hi Jeff,

I have never tried watching anything on my MacBook. I usually just stream entertainment from my iPhone and have never had any issues. I’m shocked to hear that Southwest has not responded back to you, as they are usually pretty timely with their customer service. When did you reach out to them?

Judy gordon

September 10, 2019

Can I access my Netflix account using southwest’s wifi while flying?

Jarrod West

September 11, 2019

Hi Judy,

Yes, you can! You can also download shows through the Netflix app to watch when you do not have Wifi.

Thanks for reading!

Trey Hill

October 07, 2019

When I purchase wifi on the first plane, does it transfer to the next one because it’s “$8 per day”?

Andrew Kunesh

October 08, 2019

Hi Trey, you’re correct, your $8 internet fee will give you access to Wi-Fi on all Southwest flights taken within a 24-hour period. Thanks!

Michele Moyer

October 08, 2019

Can I download an app on my HP tablet to watch the movies? I am having trouble figuring out how to do it. I was able to get it on my S8 phone. Your help would be greatly appreciated!

Katie Seemann

October 09, 2019

Hi Michele,
You should be able to download the app to an HP tablet to watch the movies. Here are the requirements:

Laptops and Macs
Operating System: Windows 7 or higher; OSX 10.9 or higher
Browser: Internet Explorer 10 or higher; Firefox version 47 or higher; Google Chrome version 51 or higher, Safari version 9 or higher
iOS Mobile and Tablets
Operating System: iOS 9.0 and above
Plug-In: Airtime app available for free from Apple App Store
Android Mobile and Tablets
Operating System: Android 5.0 and above
Plug-In: Airtime app available for free from Google Play Store


November 07, 2019

Where do you go to get the app if you have a Windows laptop? When I try the Google Play Store won’t let me download the app.

Andrew Kunesh

November 07, 2019

Hi Michele, you can only download the app to an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. You do not need an app on your computer to view Southwest content — just connect your laptop to the inflight Wi-Fi once you’re on the plane. You will be directed to a website where you can stream Southwest’s inflight entertainment options. Thanks!


October 10, 2019

How do you get the apps on your laptop. I am able to get them on my phone but not my pc. I would like to be able to watch movies on a bigger screen while flying on Southwest.

Katie Seemann

October 10, 2019

Hi Heather,

First make sure your laptop has the required operating system. Here’s that info:

Laptops and Macs
Operating System: Windows 7 or higher; OSX 10.9 or higher
Browser: Internet Explorer 10 or higher; Firefox version 47 or higher; Google Chrome version 51 or higher, Safari version 9 or higher
iOS Mobile and Tablets
Operating System: iOS 9.0 and above
Plug-In: Airtime app available for free from Apple App Store
Android Mobile and Tablets
Operating System: Android 5.0 and above
Plug-In: Airtime app available for free from Google Play Store

If you’re still having trouble you might need to contact Southwest to see if they can help you. You can also try the Southwest Airlines forums to see if someone there might be able to help you:

Good luck.


October 15, 2019

I can hook up to WiFi with iPad but inflight entertainment won’t load half the time and can’t watch movies half the time. I had updated the app a while back.

Richard Lindgren

November 10, 2019

What is the name of the laser ball game you have on board and where can I download it?

Erin Miller

November 10, 2019

Hi Richard, please be advised we are not Southwest Airlines. We are Upgraded Points, a website dedicated to publishing points and miles based travel content along with other travel-related articles such as this SWA guide.

As such, we do not have access to the list of in-flight games SWA has on board. You could try calling their customer service line at 1-800-435-9792. Hope this helps!

mike caldwell

November 19, 2019

How do you access wifi paid for on an earlier flight after a plane change? There does not seem to be a cookie on my notebook so there is no recognition that I paid for the day.

Jarrod West

November 20, 2019

Hi Mike,

The payment should be attached to your IP address, allowing you to access their internet for multiple flights. If this was not the case for you then I would reach out to Southwest directly about this issue for a resolution.

Daniel Bogenschuetz

November 25, 2019

When I watch TV on my Samsung phone the show freezes the picture but not the volume.

Jarrod West

November 25, 2019

Hi Daniel,

That is very unusual. Have you contacted the Southwest customer service team directly about this? They might be able to help!

Dan S.

January 20, 2020

If I get the Wifi, can I connection to my ATT Uverse App and stream live TV? I want to watch a game that is on ESPNU, not ESPN or ESPN2. Thanks.

Jarrod West

January 21, 2020

Hi Dan,

I cannot say definitively as we do not represent Southwest. According to their website, they state: “In order to provide a top-notch WiFi experience, we prohibit access to certain high-bandwidth applications and websites, including Netflix, HBO GO, and VoIP”

I’m not sure if the ATT Uverse App would necessarily classify as a high-bandwidth application, but I suggest you reach out to Southwest directly to know for certain.

Thanks for reading!


March 22, 2023

I want to make sure I understand correctly. I can watch movies and live TV on my device without having to purchase Wi-Fi? If I want to surf the web or use social media, I need to purchase Wi-Fi? Are there different Wi-Fi connections?

Katie Seemann

March 22, 2023

Hi KF,
Correct, you can watch live TV as well as some movies and TV Shows through the Southwest in-flight app but if you want to access the internet you’ll need to pay for it.

David Holt

April 23, 2023

Just an FYI – SWA stopped supporting the Airtime player back in June 2022.
It is no longer available in the Play store for Android. Just need the SWA app now.


September 11, 2023

Do I need a device to watch movies on or is there a screen to watch from on the plane on the back of the seats? I don’t want to bring devices for all the kids unless necessary.

Katie Seemann

September 11, 2023

Hi Branna,
You’ll need to bring your own devices on a Southwest flight as there are no screens in the back of the seats. Have a great trip!

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