25 NOVEMBER 2013
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In the run up to the Thanksgiving holidays in the USA, Southwest Airlines has become the first airline to allow passengers to use small portable electronic devices (PEDs) in ‘aeroplane mode’ from gate to gate.
The airline offers onboard wi-fi on the majority of its aircraft and this new move allows its customers to stay connected throughout their flight.
"We know this is something customers have wanted for some time now, and we're excited to give them the freedom to use personal devices while in the air and on the ground", said Kevin Krone, Southwest Airlines’ Chief Marketing Officer.
Before implementing the changes, the airline carefully vetted all new procedures for possible safety implications. As a result bulky laptops and devices larger than a tablet must be stowed during taxi, take-off, and landing as they may pose a hazard in an emergency due to its size and weight.
Southwest has invested heavily in wi-fi facilities across its fleet. The facility is available to customers for a fee of US$8 per device per day, including stops and connections. Passengers also now enjoy free live TV and US$5 movies throughout their flights with no interruptions. Customers do not need to purchase wi-fi in order to access movies or TV. www.southwest.com
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