Southwest Airlines offering passengers gate-to-gate texting ability

Dec. 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM
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DALLAS, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Southwest Airlines says customers with iOS devices can now use Apple's proprietary iMessage system on board from gate to gate.

Users with devices running iOS 5 or later can use the service for a $2 fee, while the messaging offer will be extended to Android devices next year, CNET reported Wednesday.

"Tell us what your favorite Android-based messaging apps are and we'll ask Santa to make it happen early in 2014!" Southwest marketing manager Angela Vargo wrote in a blog post.

Southwest already offers passengers in-flight WiFi for $8, but obviously feels some people don't need full Internet connectivity and just want to stay connected with friends, co-workers, or family and would be attracted by the lower $2 price.

To use iMessaging during a flight, travelers will need to switch their phones to airplane mode and connect to the Southwest WiFi network.

A recent decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet is allowing Southwest and other airlines to offer connectivity services gate to gate.

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