Southwest’s Wi-Fi pricing is the best deal in town — and comes with an incredible perk

May 23, 2021

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Staying connected while flying with Southwest is a breeze.

The carrier’s entire fleet of Boeing 737 jets is equipped with gate-to-gate Wi-Fi, so you’ll have no trouble remaining productive inflight. Satellite-based internet coverage is available on every Southwest route, including the carrier’s rapidly growing Hawaii service and flights to international destinations, like Costa Rica and Jamaica.

But that’s not all. Southwest’s Wi-Fi pricing is actually one of the best deals in town, too.

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Last week, I flew with Southwest for the first time in nearly 18 months and connected to the internet during the two-hour hop from Denver to Las Vegas. While the speeds — 10 Mbps download but just 0.55 Mbps upload — were on par for airplane Wi-Fi, what really caught my eye was the reasonable pricing.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Connecting costs just $8, regardless of the device that you’re using. For a fee-based service, I was impressed. Of course, it’d be great if Southwest offered free Wi-Fi like JetBlue does, but I found the cost to be quite reasonable.

I recently flew a similar two-and-a-half hour hop from Salt Lake City to Dallas with Delta, and at $17, the carrier wanted more than double what Southwest charges. In fact, I’ve been logging how much I spend on inflight Wi-Fi since late 2019, and only once have I paid less than $8 on a legacy carrier. It was a United flight from Newark to Costa Rica, where the Wi-Fi cut out once we departed U.S. airspace.

In addition to charging just $8, Southwest’s Wi-Fi comes with an incredible perk — it includes all-day access. That means that the $8 Wi-Fi package can be used across all connecting flights on the same day as your initial purchase.

So whether you’re flying nonstop from San Diego to Chicago or from Fort Lauderdale to Spokane via San Antonio and Las Vegas, an internet pass will cost just $8. You’ll just need to log in using your credentials to unlock internet access on any subsequent same-day flights, but you won’t be charged. (Top-tier A-List Preferred members get free Wi-Fi access by logging in with their Rapid Rewards loyalty account.)

Compared to the legacy carriers in the U.S., that’s outright generous. In my experience, the majority of flights operated by American Airlines and United aren’t eligible for an all-day Wi-Fi pass. Some Delta jets are, but it’s never priced at just $8.

Related: Credit cards that offer free and discounted inflight Wi-Fi

If you’d prefer to save the cash, Southwest’s inflight entertainment will still have you covered. The carrier offers a host of on-demand content through its Wi-Fi portal, including a selection of 12 live TV channels and 49 pre-loaded movies, with the full list of titles available here.

(Screenshot courtesy of Southwest)

Additionally, every Southwest passenger can enjoy free messaging through Apple’s iMessage or Facebook’s WhatsApp application without purchasing a dedicated internet package. In the U.S., only Alaska and Delta offer free inflight messaging networkwide.

There is one downside to Southwest’s generous Wi-Fi offering. The carrier’s jets aren’t equipped with power outlets, so staying connected during a long day of travel will likely require a power bank or a quick charge at the gate between flights.

So long as your devices are juiced up, you can’t beat Southwest’s reasonably priced Wi-Fi offering.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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