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Guide to Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi & Inflight Entertainment

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor and News Editor

359 Published Articles 61 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 28U.S. States Visited: 29

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, F...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

38 Published Articles 3331 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.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 inflight entertainment
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 southwestwifi.com in the address bar.
Southwest Wi-Fi
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: Southwestwifi.com

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.

Movies

You can view movies for free in the browser at any time during your flight.

Music

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.

To earn A-List Preferred status, you need to fly 40 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 complimentary 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.

Southwest InFlight Wi Fi Credit from credit card
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

How much does Wi-Fi cost on a Southwest Airlines flight?

You can purchase Wi-Fi for $8 per flight per device.

How can I get free Wi-Fi on a Southwest flight?

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.

Is Southwest raising Wi-Fi fees for passengers with connecting flights?

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.

Can you FaceTime on a Southwest flight?

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.

Katie Seemann's image

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, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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