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Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequent these days

mfc513
New Arrival

I'm new to this community and I'm really glad I found it.

I wonder if anyone is having the same issues that I am -- I hit A-List Preferred status back in June (I think), so I fly Southwest quite a bit. 

 

I've been recently VERY frustrated with the dearth of functioning WiFi on my flights. For example, two weeks ago, I flew from Ohio to Newark, NJ, and WiFi only worked from Columbus to Midway. From Midway to Newark, I was completely disconnected.

 

The return flight also did not have functioning WiFi from Newark back to Midway (a 2-hour flight). I think the pilots tried to "reset it" (which the flight attendants told me "they don't like to do" --???), but it never functioned properly (occasionally it would connect and drop off after a minute or two).

 

And again, my flight from CMH to OAK (5 hours) just yesterday did not have functioning Wifi!! I was seated in the 2nd row and the pilot (or, perhaps the co-pilot) was lovely and took the time to talk to me about it. He said that Southwest is "changing vendors." 

 

While I appreciate that, this has been going on for MONTHS -- from June or July at the very least. It's time to figure something out and correct the issue. 

 

PLEASE, Southwest, figure this out for your best customers -- your frequent business travelers who cannot afford to be disconnected for hours during their busy work days! There's only so much you can do without connectivity.

 

And, if you continue to use the availability of WiFi as a perk for travelers (and a free perk for your best customers), please follow through and make it work and work properly.

 

Please tell me I'm not alone in my frustration. 🙂

25 REPLIES 25

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequently these days

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

You're not alone.

 

Unfortunately, IMHO, I think Southwest has prioritized a system that provides great in-flight entertainment (live TV streaming to passengers own devices) but abysmal internet connectivity. For the most part, I've stopped even trying to get online anymore -- I tired of being disappointed and having to request the $8 refund.

 

Southwest indicated that wifi upgrades were coming -- at least to a limited number of aircraft -- but all indications are that connectivity is no better than it ever was. 😞

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Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequently these days

mfc513
New Arrival

Thanks for the response! So glad to know I'm not alone in the frustration!

 

It's unfortunate and short-sighted if they're prioritizing the inflight entertainment over wifi because when the system is down (as it was yesterday and on the other flights) NOTHING works -- no WiFi, no entertainment -- nothing. 

 

And, you never know about it until you're buckled in, so if you have no books or reading material, it can be a VERY long flight... The Southwest magazine is nice and all, but it's only going to fill 30 minutes or so.

 

I would LOVE to see a response from Southwest on this. As I said, I'm new here so I don't know if they ever check in and/or respond.

 

Thanks again for your reply! 🙂

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequently these days

Garyk
New Arrival

I am a list preferred and a list for close to 25 years. Today was it for me with southwest. I called in a few months ago and complained about the WiFi not working. Once again today , with a sick child at home I was unable to be in contact with my wife. I would not have traveled at all if I knew the WiFi wasn’t working AGAIN . This should not be listed on the details of the flights that the aircraft doesn’t have working WiFi. I never thought I would ever leave southwest because I love all of the people that I have dealt with over probably 500 or more trips . This is simply not the southwest that I have come to know and love . An absolute shame ! 

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequently these days

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Garyk wrote:

I am a list preferred and a list for close to 25 years. Today was it for me with southwest. I called in a few months ago and complained about the WiFi not working. Once again today , with a sick child at home I was unable to be in contact with my wife. I would not have traveled at all if I knew the WiFi wasn’t working AGAIN . This should not be listed on the details of the flights that the aircraft doesn’t have working WiFi. I never thought I would ever leave southwest because I love all of the people that I have dealt with over probably 500 or more trips . This is simply not the southwest that I have come to know and love . An absolute shame ! 


 

While I completely agree that Southwest's wifi product is unreliable (at best), perhaps you're exaggerating? Southwest introduced A-List in 2007. 😉

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequent these days

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

Same here. The WiFi system was completely down (the light wasn’t on) for two of my last three flights, and the other one would drop the connection frequently to the point of being unusable. 

 

I’m with you - A List preferred, and this is a benefit that often doesn’t get properly delivered. And to your point, I hate asking flight attendants about it because they often don’t care to bother the pilots with it. I appreciate when they make an announcement when it is down, but that doesn’t happen consistently either. 

 

Finally, flight attendants often assume that the light being on means that it is working properly, and that is not the case. The in-flight entertainment might be a go, but web surfing doesn’t work. When I need to get some work done, that’s frustrating. 

 

I get that that this may be a low priority and not at all about safety, but it needs to be — at minimum — usable.

 

Thank you so much for sharing your experience!! Here’s to hoping that SW can address these issues!!

 

 

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequent these days

CareforNOLA
Active Member

I can also relate.  I find it pretty much impossible to connect right after boarding, but then once we are airborne, I can usually connect.  Has anyone else had that experience?  The pattern has repeated itself so much that I started thinking it was purposeful because we were supposed to be listening to the safety speech.  Once off the ground, connection and speed have been okay for me, but it is frustrating to wait.

 

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequent these days

elijahbrantley
Rising Star

@CareforNOLA I have not experienced a difference in performance on the ground vs. airborne.

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequent these days

mfc513
New Arrival

Thanks for your response! 

I also sent an email to Southwest Customer Service (I'm really passionate about this!!), but I got the following "canned" or "templated" response:

 

Dear Mfc,

Thank you for reaching out to us about your multiple WiFi experiences onboard our flights. We appreciate your bringing this concern to our attention and welcome the opportunity to respond to your concerns.

 

With that being said, it’s disappointing to learn that you experienced difficulties with our WiFi service onboard multiple flights with us. We realize that others have experienced similar issues in the past and we are sorry for letting you down when you couldn’t complete your work onboard. I assure you that we are always looking for ways to improve the Customer Experience we offer, and we know that you expect to enjoy the products that we offer as well. Our WiFi Team has worked closely with our providers over the past few years to make enhancements, and we are focused on keeping our Customers connected to what matters most in their lives, especially onboard their Southwest flights. We began phasing in improvements since the beginning of the year and will continue to do so through next year, exponentially increasing the amount of bandwidth available onboard. Nevertheless, we truly regret that you were unable to take advantage of the WiFi onboard these multiple flights, and we have shared the information you provided about your experience with our WiFi Team as well as our Senior Leaders.

Your patronage means the world to us, mfc, and we hope for the opportunity to welcome you onboard a Southwest flight very soon.

Sincerely,

Ryan Rounsaville, Southwest Airlines

 

I sent another email to them, referencing the canned reply, and asked what they're doing to fix it. 

 

Truly, I will look to other carriers if this continues. I have less than 200 miles to my Companion Pass, too, but it's just SO frustrating and I NEED to be productive in the air! 

 

Here's to hoping they actually care more than they appear to.

 

Re: Inoperable Wifi on Flights: Entirely too frequent these days

bec102896
Rising Star

I can also relate 

 

this past week 2 of the 3 flights I was on had the WiFi down and I noticed when I got on the plane by it not even showing up to connect so I asked the FA as some people were still slowly boarding hoping they could reset before take off or once we got airborne and the FA was like it's broken and blew it off and was like gosh I guess you will have to make a new friend for the next 1-2 hours and what would our world be like without Internet the guy next to me rolled his eyes and laughed. I'm guessing the FA was tried of being asked but yes I have noticed more broken WiFi hope SW will fix this in the future so FAs don't get annoyed with it on a weekly basis 

 

Blake