On all Southwest Wi-Fi enabled aircraft, you can iMessage all day for $2.
Only passengers with Apple devices operating iOS 5 or later can iMessage during their flight. The carrier hopes to add additional apps in the future.
To enable iMessaging, passengers have to switch their devices to airplane mode and then connect to Southwest’s Wi-Fi network.
After their devices have connected via Wi-Fi, passengers can choose “Messaging” from the “Connect” tab and pay the $2 fee for all-day iMessaging.
Passengers can still choose to purchase an all-day Wi-Fi package for $8 which would give them texting and iMessaging capabilities. Travelers do not need to purchase both the iMessaging and Wi-Fi package.
Southwest offers Wi-Fi on 435 planes. Southwest states it is the only airline that offers Wi-Fi below 10,000 feet while flying and the first U.S. airline to offer messaging gate-to-gate.
“It is our pleasure to say that regardless of whether we’re parked at the gate or flying at 30,000 feet in the air, we are able to provide a truly robust entertainment and connectivity service for our passengers,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer.
To provide in-flight Wi-Fi Southwest partnered with Global Eagle Entertainment.
“When the ban on in-flight connectivity below 10,000 feet was lifted, we knew we were in a great position to take some significant strides in terms of passenger experience with Southwest Airlines,” said John LaValle, Global Eagle Entertainment's chief executive.
“Our messaging service breaks new ground, and embraces the changing face of communication, one where texting has already surpassed voice calls as the preferred method of phone use among young adults, and continues to grow.”