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Southwest is first with gate-to-gate Wi-Fi

Posting in Transportation
Airlines are quickly becoming gadget-friendly places around the world. Earlier this month, Delta and JetBlue became the first airlines to take advantage of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration revising it rules to allow gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices. Other airlines, and Europe, quickly followed and changed their gadget policies as well. But while Southwest was one of the last major carriers to adopt the new rules, it might be making the best use them.

That's because Southwest is now the first airline to offer gate-to-gate Wi-Fi access across the majority of its fleet. 

Unlike most major carriers in the U.S., Southwest uses Row44, a satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi system. Other carriers prefer Gogo for their in-flight Wi-Fi services, but passengers are unable to access it until the plane has reached 10,000 feet, and don't expect that to change anytime soon. Though, as Skift points out, other airlines might soon join Southwest with satellite-based Wi-Fi.

While the service won't be free -- $8 per device for the day -- it's a smart move by Southwest (and a setback to Gogo), because what's the point of being able to use your gadgets gate-to-gate if you can't connect to the Internet?

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Photo: Flickr/John Rogers

— By on November 21, 2013, 10:32 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure