As I've mentioned earlier, I've long given up on ever having a usable internet connection on Southwest. Promises that improvements were coming have consistently proven disappointing, repeatedly, for several years now. I don't really miss having working internet inflight, except when I've recently flown on another carrier and I realize how it could be. This is one area where Southwest fails compared to almost all other carriers. For business travelers, this is a pain point and a carrier choice differentiator, but I'm sure Southwest knows that. Southwest seems to have prioritized in-flight entertainment (usually works great) over a usable two-way internet connection (almost always abysmal). Whether or not that decision is the right one, it's unfortunately just how it is.
I think most people would rather spend $12/flight and have consistently good wifi. There are other airlines who have managed to do this well. It's so surprising that Southwest - who is better at everything else - just can't seem to get better at wifi. This is hardly new technology. Why don't you just dump your current vendor and get one who's better?
I will admit more recently even the "local" wifi was struggling. Was trying to watch a movie and it was not even able to "keep up" with the movie. Considering that Southwest only does the wifi "casting" it does suck. I usually have the "backup" of using local movies but as an A-List I do like my wifi to get my Text messages etc which as of late has become very very spotty.
Thanks for providing your feedback on our Inflight Entertainment and WiFi experience. I do want to apologize that we’re not meeting your expectations with this service. We know how important reliable WiFi is to your overall Inflight Experience and want you to know that we are working hard to enhance the offering.
We have made strides over the recent years and are now providing connectivity at speeds nearly seven times what they were just two years ago. We’re also proud to say we’ve extended coverage to Hawaii and are one of the few airlines offering gate-to-gate connectivity between the islands. As great as those accomplishments may seem, we do know our current bandwidth will not support the long term needs of our Customers.
An important element of improving the Inflight Experience is focusing on equipment reliability. We are flying a fleet of nearly 750 hotspots in the air with onboard servers, multiple modems, antennas, and access points with an extensive ground network connected to multiple satellites over 22,000 miles in the sky. If an aircraft does not have fully functioning WiFi, our priority is to continue flying the scheduled routes of that aircraft as opposed to pulling the aircraft from service to immediately fix the WiFi, which could negatively impact thousands of Customers who expect their flight to operate as scheduled. But this can mean a less than ideal experience when looking to utilize Inflight Entertainment and WiFi. Please know that teams from all across Southwest are working to limit that impact as much as possible.
As we continue to work closely with our connectivity vendors to improve bandwidth and speed, we are focused on enhancing our entertainment offerings which help divert Customers from WiFi and reallocate them to services like Free Live TV, Free Movies or Free Messaging which take up little bandwidth or leverage onboard content. We are also constantly working to optimize the service as we recently rolled out improvements to our portal sign-in feature to make it easier to access the portal, are currently testing Apple Pay to make payments easier, and are also excited to continue to improve our portal and content expeience.
Free Music, Free Messaging and Free Movies is great, but the need to ensure Customers remain connected with Inflight Internet is an ongoing effort. Please know that we do hear you and are working on our long term options that best balance an improved experience as well as stay true to our low cost promise so we can continue to offer the Southwest Hospitality that you have come to expect.
Thank you so much for your feedback and thank you for flying Southwest!
...Posting this while using Southwest WiFi flying 33,000 feet at 520mph somewhere over Indiana...