Southwest Airlines has launched a new iMessage-only WiFi plan, offering iOS messaging addicts the opportunity to continue their conversations even if they’re not interested in other internet access. The new plan, priced at $2 per day, is a fourth of the cost of Southwest’s usual WiFi access, with the airline saying it has plans to offer a similar package for Android users in the new year.
Before that can happen, however, Southwest has to figure out what the iMessage equivalent for Android users is. From Google’s perspective that’s probably Hangouts, but instant-messaging apps have proliferated across Android, and the official client isn’t necessarily the only option.
Southwest says it’s open to suggestions, and already WhatsApp and GroupMe and been put forward. Another option would be BBM, which is now cross-platform and supports not only BlackBerry but Android and iOS devices, as BlackBerry attempts to set it up as a standalone platform in its own right.
If you’re an iOS user, you’ll need a device running iOS 5 or above in order to log on and use iMessage on Southwest’s WiFi.
Since the changes to in-flight electronics safety guidelines, Southwest passengers have been able to use their devices from gate to gate, complete with internet access, rather than having to wait until the plane reaches 10,000 feet. The airline also includes DISH content, though says it has no plans to install seat-back displays, instead expecting passengers to provide their own devices whether they be smartphones, tablets, or laptops.