Southwest Airlines is now offering customers the chance to watch live in-flight Dish Network while they travel. The platform is called TV Flies Free, and it will be available on more than 400 Southwest planes with Wi-Fi onboard.
The free to watch platform will feature up to 75 on-demand shows at no charge and access to 13 live-streaming channels.
Southwest Airlines is not providing a way to watch the station, which means customers will need their own smartphone or tablet-based device with the Dish Anywhere and Hopper Transfer apps.
Despite the Dish Network branding, customers are not required to be Dish Network customers to take advantage of the service.
To celebrate the launch of the TV Flies Free program, Southwest Airlines handed out 100 free iPad 2 devices to Dish customers. Under terms of the deal, customers who ask Dish for a Hopper DVR will receive Southwest frequent flier points and the option for an iPad.
Southwest Airlines isn’t the first company to offer in-flight live TV. JetBlue currently has a live TV platform that is powered by the DirecTV platform. JetBlue doesn’t offer the same in-flight WiFi as Southwest Airlines, but it plans to launch a new system with ViaSat before the end of the summer.
An increasing number of airlines are beginning to offer in-flight TV in the hopes of pulling customers away from other airlines.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could help speed along the use of in-flight entertainment. The government agency is currently being urged to relax its rules and regulations for the use of powered devices during takeoff and landing.
Here’s a video of Southwest Airlines employees giving away iPad 2 devices to customers:
Will you be taking advantage of the free Dish Network service during your next Southwest Airlines flight?