Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Southwest begins testing Internet access

DALLAS - Southwest Airlines Co. has started testing wireless Internet access aboard one of its jets with plans to expand the test by early next month.

Southwest said Tuesday that the test will last a few months and eventually include four aircraft.

During the test, passengers will be able to log on free using their own laptop or smart phone — cellular technology won't work.Southwest is waiting for approval from the Federal Communications Commission to offer service beyond the trial.

Airlines are rushing to add Internet service on flights to raise revenue and give passengers something else to do.

Dallas-based Southwest is using technology from Row 44, which provides Internet service through a satellite link. American Airlines and other carriers are using technology that connects Internet users through ground-based signals.

Southwest said it is working with Yahoo Inc. to offer a homepage with “destination-relevant content” during the flight.

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