Airline passengers who have been inundated over the past few years with scores of fees to check bags, order food and even to print out a boarding pass may be surprised to hear about an airline offering yet another service for free.
Southwest Airlines this month began offering free live television and more than 50 on-demand shows on most of its flights. It's a service for which the carrier previously had charged $5 per day.
Passengers on most Southwest flights now may switch on their mobile devices and log into the plane's broadband signal to watch live television, sponsored by the satellite company Dish Network. The planes, however, are not equipped with onboard power outlets, so fliers should be prepared to run out of juice on their mobile devices.
The old television fee on Southwest was among dozens of charges that generated $27.1 billion in revenue for the world's airlines last year.
The new service is offered on 425 Southwest planes, or about 75 percent of the carrier's fleet that is equipped with satellite wireless Internet. Under the deal, Dish Network will be able to promote its home satellite services to Southwest passengers.
Southwest is not the first to offer free live television. Virgin America, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways already provide the free service, while other airlines offer free on-demand entertainment on seatback devices.