Southwest Airlines and Global Eagle Entertainment Announce Launch of Gate-to-Gate Messaging on All WiFi-Installed Aircraft

DALLAS and LOS ANGELES, Dec. 11, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Adding to the list of services it now offers Customers inflight, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) and its inflight entertainment and connectivity partner, Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq:ENT) announced today the launch of a messaging service designed to work in all stages of flight. The new service enables passengers with Apple devices operating on iOS 5 or later the ability to iMessage gate-to-gate for the introductory price of $2 per day. Android-friendly messaging apps will be added early in 2014.

Currently available on 435 aircraft, Southwest is the only U.S. carrier to offer WiFi below 10,000 feet, and with the addition of Global Eagle's texting product, the airline continues to build upon the extensive entertainment and connectivity services that are available to its Customers at all stages of flight. Customers now have the opportunity to choose the inflight connectivity services that meet their needs, from free TV courtesy of DISH, to WiFi gate-to-gate, to messaging.

"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," said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines Chief Marketing Officer. "Our partnership with Global Eagle has afforded us the opportunity to be first with the services we offer, and has truly helped to differentiate Southwest Airlines in ways that are meaningful to our Customers."

With today's announcement, Global Eagle and Southwest continue to reinforce the value of satellite-based connectivity and its ability to deliver a broad range of services to improve the passenger experience inflight.

"When the ban on inflight connectivity below 10,000 feet was lifted, we knew we were in a great position to take some significant strides in terms of passenger experience with Southwest Airlines," said John LaValle, Chief Executive Officer of Global Eagle Entertainment. "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."

How It Works:

  • Once onboard, Customers can switch their phones to "airplane mode" and connect to the Southwest WiFi network.
  • From the WiFi portal homepage, Apple users with devices operating iOS 5 or later can select "Messaging" from the "Connect" tab and pay $2 for all day texting with other iMessage users on WiFi-enabled planes.
  • For Customers that prefer to do more, WiFi is still available for $8 all day per device and texting is included in that purchase automatically.
  • No need to power down! Customers can send messages gate-to-gate like they never left the ground.

Southwest, serving more than 100 million passengers each year, continues to offer the most comprehensive inflight entertainment and connectivity experience at all phases of flight, which now includes:

  • Inflight WiFi available from gate-to-gate for $8 per device per day
  • iMessage, available from gate-to-gate for $2 per day, for iPhone users with iOS5 or later
  • Live Television streamed directly to passengers' own personal electronic devices, free of charge, courtesy of DISH
  • Video-on-Demand television content and movies

Powered by Global Eagle's satellite-based connectivity platform, the new service—in sync with gate-to-gate Wi-Fi—is also optimized to work in all phases of flight, including on the ground.

About Southwest Airlines Co

In its 43rd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2012 Southwest Airlines One ReportTM can be found at

About Global Eagle

Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. is the leading full service platform offering both content and connectivity for the worldwide airline industry. Through its combined content, distribution and technology platforms, Global Eagle provides airlines and the millions of travelers they serve with the industry's most complete offering of in-flight video content, e-commerce and information services. Through its Row 44 subsidiary, Global Eagle utilizes Ku-band satellite technology to provide airline passengers with Internet access, live television, shopping and travel-related information. Currently installed on more than 500 aircraft, Row 44 has the largest fleet of connected entertainment platforms operating over land and sea globally. In addition, through its AIA subsidiary, Global Eagle provides film and television content, games and applications to more than 130 airlines worldwide. Global Eagle is headquartered in Los Angeles, California and maintains offices and support personnel around the world. Find out more at

CONTACT: Media Contacts: Southwest Airlines: Whitney Eichinger 214-792-6604 Global Eagle Entertainment Karin Pellmann 646-515-6933 Jeff Pryor Priority PR 310-954-1375Source:Global Eagle Entertainment