Southwest Airlines to offer Live TV as IFE

Southwest Airlines has announced that it will offer wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) with a preview of Live TV on five of the carrier’s aircraft.

Supported by the service provided by in-flight Wi-Fi specialist, Row 44, the airline has plans to expand to 20 aircraft by mid-July. From their own personal devices, passengers on these select planes will now have the option to purchase Live TV consisting of seven sports and news channels including: NBC Sports, MLB live games from MLB.com, NFL Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News and Fox Business News.
"We are excited to give our customers new options for in-flight entertainment," declared Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer and Sr. Vice President Marketing and Revenue Management, Dave Ridley. "We believe our customers will enjoy the opportunity to access Live TV, in addition to Wi-Fi, using their personal devices, and we look forward to their feedback on the product."
"Southwest continues to demonstrate bold leadership within the airline industry, taking innovative steps to improve the travel experience for their customers," commented Row 44 Chief Executive, John LaValle. "As a trailblazer in the travel industry, Southwest is the ideal partner to launch Live TV, and like Southwest, we are keen to learn from their customers’ experiences with this next evolution of our platform."
Southwest Flight Attendants will notify passengers onboard a TV-enabled Wi-Fi aircraft and those interested in using the service can log on through the Wi-Fi portal via their personal Wi-Fi-enabled device such as tablets, laptops and smart phones. Live TV is offered as a separate charge, so passengers do not have to purchase Wi-Fi. The airline will evaluate different price points from $3 to $8 throughout the trial period, with instructions on how to access Live TV available via a link on the Southwest Airlines Wi-Fi portal.
Passengers who are watching Live TV are accessing a separate portion of the bandwidth specifically dedicated for that use. Both Live TV and Wi-Fi usage will be monitored to determine if they perform together seamlessly, and if successful, Live TV will be available to all Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft by the end of 2012.

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