Free Messaging Coming to Southwest Airlines in October 2018

Southwest Airlines will offer passengers the opportunity to use the iMessage and WhatsApp mobile software application programs for messaging aboard select airplanes during flights starting in October.

Free Messaging Coming to Southwest Airlines in October 2018

“It has started to slowly roll out already”, according to FlyerTalk member fiuchris. “On planes with free messaging available, you will see a “Free Access” button instead of a link to payment page on the messaging tab in the WiFi portal. The service is limited to iMessage and WhatsApp and does not support sending photos.”

However, FlyerTalk member 737MAX8 reports being “able to send and receive picture messages on my flight tonight. Love the free messaging!”

Passengers will reportedly not be able to use the aforementioned mobile software application programs for voice chat.

From FlyerTalk member to billionaire, Jan Koum — who is also known as FlyerTalk member jkb76 — has lived the “rags to riches” dream as the co-founder of WhatsApp. In May of 2009, Koum requested assistance from fellow FlyerTalk members pertaining to a “little tool” he had just developed at that time called WhatsApp. That “little tool” was sold to Facebook in February of 2014 for a total of $19 billion in cash and stock — which was enough to give every registered FlyerTalk member in 2014 greater than $35,000.00 each if that $19 billion was divided evenly.

Summary

Southwest Airlines has some catching up to do, as Delta Air Lines became the first global carrier based in the United States to offer free mobile messaging effective as of Sunday, October 1, 2017.

This is good news for passengers who want to stay in touch with other people — whether the purpose is for business or leisure — during a flight; and could potentially save a significant amount of time that would otherwise be spent on the ground communicating before or after the flight.

I only hope that passengers who do use mobile messaging during a flight silence their portable electronic devices — but then again, the annoyance of the “clickety-clack” sound of mobile messaging would potentially pale in comparison to actual telephone calls during a flight, of which this informal and unscientific survey which I conducted in this article on Thursday, September 3, 2015 revealed that an overwhelming majority of readers of The Gate were opposed to allowing passengers to place and receive telephone calls during a flight. Fortunately, telephone calls during flights are still not permitted at this time.

As for me, I intend to use the mobile messaging service sparingly and only when necessary — to inform a person who is meeting me at the airport as to exactly when the airplane lands, for example — as I am probably one of the few people who view the time of being a passenger on an airplane as a respite from everyday life.

I would rather just stare out of the window — although there is at least one disadvantage to sitting in a seat by the window aboard an airplane — and simply listen to the music stored in my portable electronic device

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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