Southwest Airlines Offers Passengers Using iOS 5-Powered Apple Devices iMessage on Board for $2; Service Would be Available to Android Phone Users in Early 2014

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 13, 2013 2:07 PM EST

Southwest Airlines passengers could now enjoy texting service through the air carrier's gate-to-gate text messaging on its Wi-Fi-installed aircraft. So far, only those using Apple iOS 5-powered iPhones could enjoy the service for $2.

By early 2014, Android-powered smartphones would also enjoy the service, which is currently available on 435 Southwest jets.

The air carrier emphasised that it is the first U.S. airline to offer messaging on all phases of flight, and its in-flight Wi-Fi works even below 10,000 feet.

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Kevin Krone, chief marketing officer of Southwest, said, "It is our pleasure to say that regardless of whether we're parked at the gate or flying at 30,000 feet in the air, we are able to provide a truly robust entertainment and connectivity service for our passengers."

For the iMessaging service to work, passengers must switch their phones to airplane mode and connect to Southwest's Wi-Fi network. Then selected Messaging from the Connect tab and pay $2 to enjoy all-day texting.

Outside iMessaging, Southwest also has an $8 per device, all-day offer which includes texting service.

The iMessaging service, introduced when the ban on in-flight connectivity below 10,000 feet was lifted, is offered by Southwest's in-flight entertainment and connectivity partner Global Eagle Entertainment.

Global Eagle Entertainment Chief Executive John LaValle said the lifting of the bank was a signal for the group to take significant strides in further improving passenger experience with the air carrier.

"Our messaging service breaks new ground, and embraces the changing face of communication, one where texting has already surpassed voice calls as the preferred method of phone use among young adults, and continues to grow," he added.

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