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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Southwest Airlines and satellite television provider DISH yesterday announced a new deal to bring free live and on-demand TV to Southwest's 400 Wi-Fi-enabled planes. While the service is accessible from many Internet-connected devices, Southwest and DISH highlighted compatibility with Apple's iOS devices and gave away roughly 100 iPad 2 units to customers on a Southwest flight.
Beginning today for Southwest Customers using iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, or most other Internet-ready personal devices, DISH is providing free access to live TV and up to 75 on-demand shows on the airline's more than 400 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft.

The news was unveiled by DISH's "Boston Guys" who surprised each of the passengers aboard a Southwest flight from Boston to Baltimore with a free iPad 2 on behalf of the two companies. Southwest Customers and Crew greeted the news with spirited applause, as for the first time, Customers flying on Southwest Airlines can stream directly to their personal devices live TV and up to 75 on demand titles for free, a savings of $5 per day.
As noted by The Wall Street Journal, the deal will see advertising from DISH used extensively throughout the Southwest customer experience, including on flight confirmation emails, airport signage, and in 30-second commercials that will be required viewing before free TV can be accessed.

Additional details on the TV service aboard Southwest flights is posted on the airline's site.

Article Link: Southwest Airlines and DISH Launch Free In-Flight TV
 

ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
451
228
I fly southwest all the time. Many times I fly home in the late afternoon on the west coast. It is usually during this time that any significant sporting events are on TV, and I miss them. I caught the last 30 seconds of game 6 of the NBA finals after I landed, but I was following on gamecast on espn the entire flight. I'm VERY excited to hear about this new partnership.

Oh, and I'm happy for all the passengers of that flight who got free iPads. Dish deserves some kudos for that one.
 
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Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,800
7,995
New Hampshire, USA
Now I can watch "Snakes on a Plane" while flying :D.

snakes_on_a_plane.png
 
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sjinsjca

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2008
2,224
545
Nice news, as a frequent (A-List Preferred) Southwest flyer.

But I'm becoming less frequent... their fare prices have escalated alarmingly.
 
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BJMRamage

macrumors 68030
Oct 2, 2007
2,556
973
pretty cool news.
We are taking SW in Sept for a trip to Disney.
 
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ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
451
228
I flew to Vegas on SW over the weekend and they had this

The catch is you still have to pay $8 for Wi-Fi

You don't "have to." Wifi and streaming TV are separate. If you don't have email/twitter/facebook/tumblr/macrumors to tend to, then you can kick back and watch a little tv at no cost. Maybe if you are nice, the flight attendants will even bring you a coke. ;)
 
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ryanmcv

macrumors 6502a
Aug 12, 2007
767
458
Phoenix, AZ
This is awesome news and perfect timing. I'm flying home to Chicago in just a few hours! Can't wait to try this out.
 
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TV Cameraman

macrumors member
Feb 3, 2008
43
2
Los Angeles, CA
You don't "have to." Wifi and streaming TV are separate. If you don't have email/twitter/facebook/tumblr/macrumors to tend to, then you can kick back and watch a little tv at no cost. Maybe if you are nice, the flight attendants will even bring you a coke. ;)

This is correct. I flew Southwest this weekend and was able to watch live TV and on-demand TV Shows without purchasing WiFi. The picture quality on my iPad Mini was excellent. Only complaint: their TV Channel selection is pretty slim. Ended up watching several episodes of "The Office" on-demand instead.
 
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ToomeyND

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2011
451
228
This is correct. I flew Southwest this weekend and was able to watch live TV and on-demand TV Shows without purchasing WiFi. The picture quality on my iPad Mini was excellent. Only complaint: their TV Channel selection is pretty slim. Ended up watching several episodes of "The Office" on-demand instead.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this new program with Dish will include more channels than the NBC family.
 
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dittman

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2007
77
9
Nice news, as a frequent (A-List Preferred) Southwest flyer.

But I'm becoming less frequent... their fare prices have escalated alarmingly.

Not only that but since they added an extra row there's no legroom at all.
 
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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
16,089
4,881
Not only that but since they added an extra row there's no legroom at all.

Not entirely true since the seat cushions are now thinner. I usually fly Southwest but was on an American flight over the weekend. The legroom was worse than Southwest since they decided to add a few rows of "Main Cabin Extra."
 
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dittman

macrumors member
Oct 28, 2007
77
9
Not entirely true since the seat cushions are now thinner. I usually fly Southwest but was on an American flight over the weekend. The legroom was worse than Southwest since they decided to add a few rows of "Main Cabin Extra."

The thinner cushions on SW make them too low for me. That was another complaint I had, plus I felt like the seat was trying to make me slide forward It was a very odd feeling. The flight was less than half full so I moved around to a few other seats to see if maybe I just had a bad seat but they were all like that.

I've flown on AA since they added rows and had more legroom than I had on my most recent SW flight. Plus on AA and other airlines I can opt for more legroom by paying more, which is worth it to me.

I'm waiting for JetBlue and Virgin America to start flying routes to places I travel. I've got friends that fly on them and have nothing but good things to say.
 
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bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,072
14,694
The only issue I have is the content.

There is really nothing there for children* outside of a 90 - 120 minute movie, which their attention span will not last that long to be seated watching an iPad.

Sprout? PBS Kids (especially if having Dowton Abbey, a PBS show itself)? qubo? Even Cartoon Network may be an option.. But if this is in the NBC family, qubo is definitely part of it, IIRC.

This could definitely keep not only the kids occupied, but keep those complaining about kids on flights shut up and occupied as well.

BL.

*children under 5, toddlers, etc.
 
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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
16,089
4,881
The thinner cushions on SW make them too low for me. That was another complaint I had, plus I felt like the seat was trying to make me slide forward It was a very odd feeling. The flight was less than half full so I moved around to a few other seats to see if maybe I just had a bad seat but they were all like that.

I've flown on AA since they added rows and had more legroom than I had on my most recent SW flight. Plus on AA and other airlines I can opt for more legroom by paying more, which is worth it to me.

I'm waiting for JetBlue and Virgin America to start flying routes to places I travel. I've got friends that fly on them and have nothing but good things to say.

I've flown JetBlue. The planes are nice, but they are limited and their strategy of locating at airports like JFK just begs for delays. Virgin anything is supposed to be good. They are niche airlines, though.

I can't say I agree with every move Gary Kelly has made (e.g. the new no-show policy is too harsh, IMO), but among the big airlines Southwest is still the best, IMO. I don't like the "Economy Plus" sections on other airlines. First, they provide almost too much legroom (short of being able to lie down), putting the table too far away, without adding a millimeter of width. Second, all the status holders get them for "free" meaning that fewer are available, and the rest of us just get 2 fewer inches than normal.

Beyond that, Southwest has other advantages. Open seating just makes a lot of sense to me. The employees seem to like working there (I couldn't say that about the flight attendants on my American flight the other day). They are pretty good about fees, too. Most of their ancillary fees are for things most people can live without (e.g. early bird check-in). The biggest difference is that Southwest actively discourages standby since they only allow it with full fares. It probably hurts them with business travelers but it also helps make it easier for them to predict flight volumes.

I've taken advantage of the "no change fee" policy a lot. As soon as I know I'm traveling for business, I'm on the site making a reservation, knowing that I can change it later if something comes up. The other airlines like to nickel-and-dime, with some of the worst ones even charging for carry-on luggage and non-alcoholic beverages. It will be interesting to see if others follow Southwest's lead and strike deals with media companies to offer entertainment with no extra fees.
 
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unplugme71

macrumors 68030
May 20, 2011
2,827
754
Earth
I'm sure they'll increase ticket fare in a few weeks to make up for the lost revenue and use the commercials as extra money.

It upsets me how much airfare costs these days. I used to pay $99 from NYC to Maimi booking not even a month ahead. Now it's $400-600 if you don't catch a promo.

----------

The thinner cushions on SW make them too low for me. That was another complaint I had, plus I felt like the seat was trying to make me slide forward It was a very odd feeling. The flight was less than half full so I moved around to a few other seats to see if maybe I just had a bad seat but they were all like that.

I've flown on AA since they added rows and had more legroom than I had on my most recent SW flight. Plus on AA and other airlines I can opt for more legroom by paying more, which is worth it to me.

I'm waiting for JetBlue and Virgin America to start flying routes to places I travel. I've got friends that fly on them and have nothing but good things to say.

I know that feeling. I'm 6'2" and its bad enough sitting, if someone reclines, it makes for a very uncomfortable flight. Especially if you are squeezed between a person on the left and right hand side of you.
 
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KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
16,089
4,881
I'm sure they'll increase ticket fare in a few weeks to make up for the lost revenue and use the commercials as extra money.

It upsets me how much airfare costs these days. I used to pay $99 from NYC to Maimi booking not even a month ahead. Now it's $400-600 if you don't catch a promo.

There are still some competitive routes (e.g. Chicago-New York). It's all a matter of whether multiple airlines have hubs or large operations there.

Southwest used to charge $5 for the TV option. I'm guessing they won't pass this along in higher fares, since the trend in the industry is to add fees, and Southwest is already at a comparative disadvantage since they don't separately charge for the first two bags, reservation changes, etc. and they can't upsell larger seats (though they have been trying to sell A1-A15 boarding positions for $40). As it stands, people compare the top line fare and see Southwest at or near the top (airlines are usually within a few dollars of each other, if not exactly the same). Trying to tack on another $3-5 to the base fare won't fly. Dish probably sees this as a marketing expense. What's more likely is that they use this to get people used to watching TV and then quietly discontinue the promotion next year and see how many people pay the extra $5 onboard.

The $99 NYC to Miami flights went the way of $1.50 gas (and for largely the same reason). The industry hasn't quite come full circle, but there has been a lot of consolidation. While I don't like paying higher fares, either, the old model was unsustainable as it drove every major airline except Southwest into bankruptcy. We have fewer airlines, but healthier ones. I think over the next decade we'll see the cycle turn again, and some startups attempt to occupy the niches left behind by the major carriers.
 
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