Southwest Will Triple Inflight WiFi Bandwidth in 2017


Tired of slow inflight WiFi, or worse, no WiFi at all? Southwest has you covered. Or will have you covered, when its newly announced upgrade program is in place.

By the end of next year, all 700-plus Southwest aircraft will feature onboard WiFi. That’s not the case today, as the carrier’s B737-300 Classic planes lack inflight connectivity. Those aircraft are scheduled to be phased out by mid-2017, to be replaced by the latest-generation B737-8 (MAX) jets.

Southwest promises not only more WiFi but better WiFi as well. “Customers will be able to browse the Internet at increased speeds as a result of an expected bandwidth increase of at least three times more than what they currently experience, with an additional expected bandwidth increase in mid-2018. Connectivity speeds are expected to increase, and Southwest plans to develop relationships with content providers to bring even more exclusive content to its Customers while on flights.”

Pricing will remain the same as it is today, with Internet access available for $8 a day.

Reader Reality Check

How important is inflight WiFi to you?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.


  1. Traveling on Business, wifi offers 2 things:

    1) Communicating with my family while traveling
    2) Business application (emails, etc)

    Both of the above amount to “family”, as being able to get work done and communicate with business contacts while in the air saves me time when I’m on the ground and back home (my company allows me to work out of my home).

    SW wifi has been frankly *really* frustrating. No joke I have spent an entire flight just waiting for a single email to transfer out from my Outbox.

    I’m not saying wifi is the end-all, be-all, but I’ve felt for a long time that Southwest even claiming to offer “internet service” on their planes at these speeds is at best an embarrassment, and I’m surprised that charging $8 for virtually useless service has not yet resulted in litigation. So I’m glad to hear they’re finally doing something about it.

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