Southwest Air Joins Rivals in Finally Dumping Fees for Movies

(Bloomberg) -- Southwest Airlines Co. is giving up on charging for in-flight movies, bowing to feedback from passengers accustomed to not paying on rival carriers.

Free flicks will be available on some Wi-Fi-enabled jets starting Thursday and will be rolled out to most customers by the end of the week, Southwest said in a statement. That makes the Dallas-based discounter the last of the four biggest U.S. carriers to stop charging for movies.

The offerings build on Southwest’s push to ramp up in-flight entertainment over the past year, after customer surveys showed it could “greatly influence” a decision to fly on the airline in the future, said Ryan Green, chief marketing officer. Since May, the carrier -- which heavily promotes passenger perks such as free checked bags and flight changes -- has added music streaming, podcasts and messaging at no cost.

While Southwest still charges $8 for Wi-Fi access, passengers don’t need to purchase it to use the free onboard entertainment, the airline said. But they will have to use their own phone or laptop and download the airline’s mobile app to access movies, Live TV and other content.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.