Travellers on board wifi-enabled Southwest Airlines flights will now be able to access a library of free movies via their personal electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.
Previously, Southwest charged a fee to watch movies through its Inflight Entertainment Portal. Up to 30 movies are available for viewing. Travellers need to download the Southwest app to access the service.
Ryan Green, vice president and chief marketing officer at Southwest Airlines, framed the change as an opportunity to build customer loyalty by enhancing the onboard experience. Southwest also offers free messaging via WhatsApp and iMessage, and free music through iHeartRadio.
Separately, the airline – famous for its open seating – is looking at new ways to board aircraft. In an experiment being conducted at several airports in California (Burbank, Long Beach, Sacramento, and San Jose) Southwest is allowing passengers to board and depart the aircraft using both front and rear doors.
Those deplaning from the front do so on an air bridge, while using the rear door involves descending stairs and walking across a section of tarmac outdoors, Travelmarketreport reports.
Passengers with heavy bags or mobility issues can still choose to board from the front of the aircraft, according to Southwest.