Southwest Airlines And Global Eagle Entertainment Announce Launch of Gate-To-Gate Messaging on All WiFi-Installed Aircraft

The new service enables passengers with Apple devices operating on iOS 5 or later the ability to iMessage gate-to-gate for the introductory price of $2 per day. Android-friendly messaging apps will be added early in 2014.


DALLAS, TX and LOS ANGELES, CA, December 11, 2013 – Adding to the list of services it now offers Customers inflight, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) and its inflight entertainment and connectivity partner, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: ENT) announced today the launch of a messaging service designed to work in all stages of flight. The new service enables passengers with Apple devices operating on iOS 5 or later the ability to iMessage gate-to-gate for the introductory price of $2 per day. Android-friendly messaging apps will be added early in 2014.  

Currently available on 435 aircraft, Southwest is the only U.S. carrier to offer WiFi below 10,000 feet, and with the addition of Global Eagle’s texting product, the airline continues to build upon the extensive entertainment and connectivity services that are available to its Customers at all stages of flight.  Customers now have the opportunity to choose the inflight connectivity services that meet their needs, from free TV courtesy of DISH, to WiFi gate-to-gate, to messaging. 

“It is our pleasure to say that regardless of whether we’re parked at the gate or flying at 30,000 feet in the air, we are able to provide a truly robust entertainment and connectivity service for our passengers,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer.  “Our partnership with Global Eagle has afforded us the opportunity to be first with the services we offer, and has truly helped to differentiate Southwest Airlines in ways that are meaningful to our Customers.”

With today’s announcement, Global Eagle and Southwest continue to reinforce the value of satellite-based connectivity and its ability to deliver a broad range of services to improve the passenger experience inflight.

“When the ban on inflight connectivity below 10,000 feet was lifted, we knew we were in a great position to take some significant strides in terms of passenger experience with Southwest Airlines,” said John LaValle, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle Entertainment. “Our messaging service breaks new ground, and embraces the changing face of communication, one where texting has already surpassed voice calls as the preferred method of phone use among young adults, and continues to grow.”

How It Works:

- Once onboard, Customers can switch their phones to “airplane mode” and connect to the Southwest WiFi network.

- From the WiFi portal homepage, Apple users with devices operating iOS 5 or later can select “Messaging” from the “Connect” tab and pay $2 for all day texting with other iMessage users on WiFi-enabled planes.

- For Customers that prefer to do more, WiFi is still available for $8 all day per device and texting is included in that purchase automatically.

- No need to power down! Customers can send messages gate-to-gate like they never left the ground.

Southwest, serving more than 100 million passengers each year, continues to offer the most comprehensive inflight entertainment and connectivity experience at all phases of flight, which now includes:

  •        Inflight WiFi available from gate-to-gate for $8 per device per day
  •        iMessage, available from gate-to-gate for $2 per day, for iPhone users with iOS5 or later
  •        Live Television streamed directly to passengers’ own personal electronic devices, free of charge, courtesy of DISH
  •        Video-on-Demand television content and movies
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