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Wifi On Southwest  
User currently offlineUGA777 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 144 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 7303 times:

How many aircraft are equipped so far what is projected completion date for the fleet? It seems to be moving rather slow compared to how long it took Delta and Airtran.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBNAtraveler From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 412 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7125 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

I have used both Southwest's (Row 44) and Delta/Airtran/American's (Gogo) service on more than 100 flights on each carrier over the past two years. I am a A-List Preferred flyer on Southwest and a Diamond on Delta; both airlines are great at what they do and I use them for specific purposes.

Southwest's wifi product is horrible and not worth the $5 fee. On a technical basis, their implementation is much too convoluted. Southwest uses Row 44 and they use satellites mounted on the roof of the airplane and they integrate it with traditional HughesNet satellite Internet service. Additionally, they have implemented a WAN link optimization tool to try and get more out of the connection which frankly creates more problems than it solves. On top of all of this, they put an injected banner on every web page to market Southwest, the flight status and the wifi product. My corporate VPN has issues with their service - sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Speeds are completely unpredictable, service is unreliable (up/down during most flights even in level flight) , applications that operate over port 80 but do not use a web browser such as iTunes, other web apps that don't like frames content, etc. can't deal with the injected banner. Southwest's approach requires substantial changes to the roof of the plane to install a satellite dish and that is probably the reason that their deployment has taken so long.

Delta/Airtran/American's product is awesome and well worth the ~$10 or monthly fee. Gogo uses terrestrial (ground) stations and equipment mounted on the bottom of the plane to deliver their service. Speed is impressive (you can watch Youtube with a pretty similar experience to what I have on my cable modem at home) and reliability is very high. I have had a few spots (west of Minneapolis, near Reno and -in the past- near Atlanta) where service became spotty, but in flying 250k+ elite miles on Delta and lots of random trips on Airtran and American I have maybe had 1-2 mixed experiences. After you authenticate to the Gogo portal (like at a hotel), they don't mess with your session at all except to block apps that they disclose in advance (Netflix, voice services, etc.). Delta/Airtran/American have been able to rapidly roll out this service as it does not make many changes to the airplane or its aerodynamics, and thus I believe that service can be rolled out in two overnight maintenance trips.

Southwest's solution makes you feel like you are making an international long distance call in the 70s/80s, Delta/Airtran/American is like you are on DSL at home.

That all being said, Southwest's choice of satellite is not ground station based and thus it has the potential to be used well offshore and on intercontinental routes. Two issues with this: 1) they don't fly either place and 2) their choice of HughesNet doesn't have coverage despite the technology itself theoretically working. Delta (Gogo) are working on introducing satellite-based service on intercontinental routes in 2013 and we'll have to see if they end up like what I experience with Southwest on a domestic flight given the change in technology. I certainly hope not!


User currently offlineouboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4616 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7009 times:

Quoting BNAtraveler (Reply 1):
I am a A-List Preferred flyer on Southwest
Quoting BNAtraveler (Reply 1):
Southwest's wifi product is horrible and not worth the $5 fee.

But you aren't paying the $5 fee since you are A-List Preferred, correct?

Quoting BNAtraveler (Reply 1):
That all being said, Southwest's choice of satellite is not ground station based and thus it has the potential to be used well offshore and on intercontinental routes.

One of the main benefits of the system we are seeing is the satellite based TV that is being added to the product line. That being said satellite internet of course isn't the most optimal, but the reviews from what I've seen have been pretty evenly split.


User currently offlineusflyguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1075 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7009 times:

You are correct, Row44 will work outside of the lower 48.


My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
User currently offlineBNAtraveler From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 412 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 6954 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 3):
But you aren't paying the $5 fee since you are A-List Preferred, correct?

Correct. The reason I brought up the status was that I wanted to make the point that my review is informed by lots of travel on all of the airlines stated, use of the wifi and not being a fanboy for one airline or the other. The service is free for A-Pref, but $5 for everyone else.

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 3):
One of the main benefits of the system we are seeing is the satellite based TV that is being added to the product line. That being said satellite internet of course isn't the most optimal, but the reviews from what I've seen have been pretty evenly split.

As a business traveler, I could care less about satellite TV. I want fast and reliable Internet.

[Edited 2012-08-09 16:19:13]

User currently offlineredflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6675 times:

Quoting BNAtraveler (Reply 1):

Great post. Thanks for explaining why there is a noticeable difference between WN's wi-fi and DL's and other carriers.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineouboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4616 posts, RR: 23
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6641 times:

Quoting BNAtraveler (Reply 5):
As a business traveler, I could care less about satellite TV. I want fast and reliable Internet.

Maybe there can be a system in place where Business Select customers get Wi-Fi for free as well. Then ideally use that increased revenue to cover the cost of a faster internet option? Just throwing it out there.


User currently offlinefanoftristars From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1615 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 6638 times:

I'm a monthly subscriber on Gogo and it's far superior to Row44. The connection drops all the time and it's extremely slow. Wouldn't bother purchasing it again. BNAtraveler is spot on!


"FLY DELTA JETS"
User currently offlineBeardown91737 From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 607 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 6434 times:

Quoting BNAtraveler (Reply 1):

I used it earlier this week on a MDW-ONT trip and can't argue with anything BNATraveler said. I did get behind the corporate firewall at work but then lost connection. My bigger problem was being in a center seat between two other adult males and the person in front of me reclined, so I had to put my tray table up and balance the laptop on my lap.

What I did like is that access to southwest.com and Flight Tracker are free, so I connected my smart phone and watched the moving map on it. Obviously since I belong to this site, I am entertained by that kind of stuff.

There is also an option to watch TV for $6, but I didn't try that one.



135 hrs PIC (mostly PA-28) - not current. Landings at MDW, PIA, JAN.
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