Southwest Just Changed Its In-flight Wi-Fi Pricing — What to Know

Internet will now have to be purchased per leg of a passenger's trip instead of one purchase of a whole day's use.

Interior of a Southwest Airlines airplane

Ashlee Duncan/Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is changing the pricing of its onboard internet, charging per flight instead of per day.

Starting Tuesday, the airline will charge $8 per flight segment, a Southwest spokesperson confirmed to Travel + Leisure. Previously, the carrier charged $8 per day, which benefited customers with connecting flights.

“With two vendors providing connectivity in our fleet, we’re introducing a new pricing model for onboard internet. Effective today, Tuesday, February 21, onboard internet will be purchased per-leg, from 'Takeoff to Landing,' rather than our current per-day, DayPass,” the Southwest spokesperson told T+L. “This impacts a small subset of Customers due to our robust network of nonstop flights, free onboard entertainment and a limited number of Customers choosing to use paid internet across connecting flights.”

The decision to change the Wi-Fi pricing structure comes as Southwest works to upgrade its onboard Wi-Fi with two different providers, part of a series of improvements the airline is making to its fleet. So far, more than 350 of its aircraft have been upgraded and the airline expects its full fleet to be complete by the third quarter of this year. 

Customers who hold A-List Preferred status with the airline will continue to be able to access the internet for free.

In addition to better internet, Southwest plans to install other modern amenities like USB A and USB C power ports at every seat along with larger overhead bins. 

Onboard internet may cost money, but Southwest does offer free messaging on iMessage and WhatsApp for all customers. Other inflight entertainment, including live TV and movies will also remain free.

Wi-Fi options vary widely by airline. Delta Air Lines and JetBlue, for example, offer free high-speed internet onboard. And similar to Southwest, United Airlines offers in-flight Wi-Fi for a fee of $8 for MileagePlus members or $10 for everyone else on U.S. domestic and short-haul international flights, according to the airline.

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