Everything you need to know about Southwest’s inflight entertainment and Wi-Fi

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Southwest is an MMS favorite, both to readers and editors. The airline has insanely generous change and cancellation policies; it flies to lots of fun places for low rates; and the Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring along a friend or family member for practically free whenever you fly Southwest. Plus, three Southwest credit card current offers come with bonuses of 65,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

You can view those offers here.

A lesser discussed aspect of Southwest travel is its inflight entertainment. Let’s examine Southwest’s entertainment system, and see which devices are compatible.

Southwest entertainment options

Wi-Fi

Cost: $8 per day, per device

If you’re flying Southwest, Wi-Fi should be available. If your flight doesn’t have it, you’re flying in an anecdotal plane. You can check if your plane has Wi-Fi by visiting Southwest.com/wifi within 24 hours of your flight’s departure time. You should be able to view your flight details after entering your confirmation number and passenger name. You can just as well look at your reservation confirmation.

Of course, you can keep an eye out for the Southwest Wi-Fi sticker as you board the plane both on the outside (right) when you enter and inside where the flight attendant is typically standing when you board.

Using the network is easy. Follow these steps:

They do limit access to some high-bandwidth applications and websites like Netflix, HBO Go, and VoIP. You’ll need to pay $8 per device, though I’ve had success paying on my phone and then turning my phone into a hotspot for my other devices.

Southwest allows you to use its Wi-Fi for free if you’re just sending messages. You’ll need to use pre-downloaded apps, which include iMessage and WhatsApp. For texting, both parties must be connected to the same app.

Live television and on-demand TV episodes

Cost: free

Live television on a large number of channels and select on-demand television shows are currently your free options for entertainment on Southwest. You can watch them free on any compatible device (read below for compatible devices on Southwest). You can choose from the following channels:

There are also on-demand TV shows available for viewing, which seem to vary.

Movies

Cost: Free

You can watch movies for free on your device, but first you will need to have downloaded certain plug-ins. You’ll need to do this while you’re still on the ground, since you’ll need Wi-Fi. Even if you already have the app, you’ll want to be sure it’s updated before you get on the plane.

To watch a movie on your device, you’ll be prompted to download a plug-in once you try to watch the movie.

You can also watch the same movie across multiple flights within the same day. Just reopen your app or browser, go to SouthwestWifi.com, find your movie and select “Watch Now.

Compatible devices on Southwest

Southwest does not offer seatback screens, so you will need to bring your own device with you on board. For movies, you’ll need:

  • Laptops and Macs
    Operating System: Windows 7 or higher; OSX 10.10 or higher

Browser: Firefox version 66 or higher; Google Chrome version 73 or higher

  • iOS Mobile and Tablets
  • Operating System: iOS 11 and above. The Southwest app is required, but available for free from Apple’s App Store

  • Android Mobile and Tablets
  • Operating System: Android 6.0 and above. The Southwest app is required, but available for free from Google’s Play Store

    Bottom line

    Southwest Wi-Fi can be convenient and entertaining if your flight has it. Be sure to bring a compatible device like an iPhone, laptop or iPad to access. By logging on to SouthwestWifi.com on your device, you will be able to enjoy everything from live TV and movies to internet access and texting.

    It’s also worth noting that there are no outlets or charging devices on board Southwest planes, so be sure to arrive with a fully-charged device or carry a portable charger with you. Also, if you pay for Wi-Fi or other entertainment and it doesn’t work, call Southwest afterward for a refund and be sure you have your flight number and departure time. Or, you can send them an online message.

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    Featured image courtesy of Southwest.

    Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

    Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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