Browsing Tag: InFlight

Literally anything and everything that could go on your tray table was available at WTCE 2016.

Literally anything and everything that could go on your tray table was available at WTCE 2016.

In conjunction with the Airline Interiors Expo last month, the World Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) was also co-located in Hamburg, Germany… talk about a week of #PaxEx (passenger experience)! WTCE brought together vendors who showcased the best of their food and drink, wares, and concepts, all in the name of passenger comfort and meeting customers’ demands (of course, by that we mean the airlines as customers). Everything from futuristic catering systems, to plastic spoons and condiments, we take a look at some highlights and personal favorites.

A Southwest 737-700 seen at Dallas Love Field sporting a Row44 Raydome between the strobe and vertical stabilizer.  Photo: JL Johnson | Airlinereporter.com

Southwest 737-700 (N711HK) seen at Dallas Love Field with Row 44 raydome between the strobe and vertical stabilizer. It also sports a retro-livery design.

On November 20, 2013 Southwest Airlines announced that, effective immediately, customers could use their portable electronic devices (PEDs) gate-to-gate. This was expected as other airlines had been making similar announcements earlier in the month after the FAA relaxed their rules. What wasn’t expected was that in-flight entertainment (IFE), through their Row 44 WiFi, would also be available gate-to-gate, making them the first U.S. airline to offer a seamless integrated experience, regardless of altitude.

Southwest Airlines has long been a renegade, going against the grain, often being successful with that strategy. When the industry zigs, they zag and usually find themselves with a competitive advantage. And that’s exactly what they did when they bucked the trend of U.S. airlines signing on with traditional passenger-level-hardware IFE. Instead, Southwest chose Row 44, an industry underdog to provide their connectivity. Row 44’s network is powered solely by satellite, whereas (at the time) the other big domestic players (i.e. GoGo) focused on terrestrial (land-based cell tower) service.

BONUS: GoGo Unveils New In-Flight Technology

I’m a known critic of IFE at the airline-provided-hardware level. I am of the school of thought that if you can give me WiFi, I’ll find a way to entertain myself, with my own device(s). BYOD (that is, “bring your own device”) is gaining in popularity across many industries and applications, so why not with airlines? Traditional IFE is expensive to implement, heavy to fly around, and requires added maintenance. With passengers likely to bring the added weight of their own devices anyway, why not simply eliminate the cost and complexity?

Southwest’s in-flight connectivity is nothing new, but has matured well beyond basic WiFi. I recently had the opportunity to try out the new gate-to-gate, or in my case, gate-to-gate-to-gate Row 44 on a business trip from Kansas City with a stopover at Dallas Love Field on my way to San Antonio. Let me say, I was impressed.

Taken right now. Glad I got a mini-laptop and yes that is an "adult" drink, but I am sitting up front & it's free!

Taken right now. Glad I got a mini-laptop and yes that is an "adult" drink, but I am sitting up front & it's free! Reading a sweet blog.

Currently flying at 30,000 feet on an AirTran flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee and back home to Seattle. I love flying and I love the internet. Having the internet while flying is awesome.

I have spent the last two days in Atlanta at AirTran’s Atlanta Corporate Center, where flight attendants are trained. Sorry I haven’t had any new blogs (am going to work on a few while flying), but I ended up with a lot less free time than I expected.

However the things I have experienced, and the people I met were amazing. I have always respected the job flight attendants do, but my respect has gone to a whole new level.

I plan to be working on a few blogs about the experience over the weekend and post them next week. Thanks for everyone who was following me on Twitter and a thanks to AirTran for hosting me and being very welcoming.

Ok we are starting our decent into MKE, so I better post the blog!

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