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Everything You Need to Know About In-Flight Messaging on Southwest

Everything You Need to Know About In-Flight Messaging on Southwest
Scott Dylan

Southwest is hoping to get the message across that it values its customers by making it free to send and receive messages on flights. The popular budget carrier is adding free text messages on flights. The new option was actually rolled out in the beginning of September.

Doesn’t Southwest Already Have Messaging?

Paid messaging service has been available on Southwest flights since 2013. Passengers previously had to pay $2 to use messaging services while flying with Southwest.

Of course, the announcement of free messaging on Southwest flights won’t come as exciting news to passengers who routinely pay for Wi-Fi access when traveling. Passengers who purchase Wi-Fi on Southwest flights already get messaging included. The fee for a full day’s worth of Wi-Fi when traveling with Southwest is $8. Access remains active regardless of how many flights you take in a day.

Does This Mean That Wi-Fi Is Free?

You shouldn’t confuse free messaging with free Wi-Fi access. Full access will still be provided on a paid basis on Southwest flights.

How Do I Know If My Flight Has It?

The option for free messaging is available on all routes that are enabled with Wi-Fi access. You can check to see if free messaging is available on your next Southwest flight by taking a look at your flight’s entertainment portal. The free feature should pop up if it’s available on your route.

How Do I Use It?

You may need to do a little bit of preparation if you do plan to take advantage of free messaging when flying with Southwest in the future. You will need to download iMessage and WhatsApp ahead of time if you plan to send messages for free during your flight.

Southwest is placing some limitations on what passengers can do with free messaging. The service is currently limited to iMessage and WhatsApp only. One piece of bad news is that Southwest’s free messaging service doesn’t support photos. That means that you won’t be able to upload pictures of your trip to share with friends for free while you’re flying.

Who Else Has Free In-Flight Messaging?

Both Delta and Alaska currently offer free messaging on flights that are equipped with Wi-Fi access. There’s no doubt that Southwest is offering messaging for free on flights as a way to keep up with what competitors are offering.


View Comments (3)


  1. sdsearch

    October 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    While iMessage is the starndard messsaging system for IOS phones and thus can send texts to and receive texts from anyone, keep in mind that the only app supported for Android is WhatsApp, and WhatsApp can only send to and receive from other WhatsApp users, it can’t send / receive normal SMS texts.

  2. Rukes

    October 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

    …download iMessage? 😂

  3. N1120A

    October 30, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    T-Mobile users can use wifi calling over text.

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