Within the last month, the Federal Aviation Administration has approved of portable electronic devices on airplane between takeoff and landing. Southwest Airlines announced on Wednesday that passengers will be able to connect to their wireless Internet service from the time that they board the plane until the time they leave, including layovers.
Southwest was able to extend the offering because it uses a satellite-based system built by Global Eagle Entertainment subsidiary Row 44. Gogo relies on air-to-ground towers so an aircraft has to hit 10,000 feet for the WiFi service to be activated.
The Southwest WiFi service applies to smaller devices like tablets, e-readers, and MP3 players. Laptops have to be stored during takeoff and landing due to safety concerns. Southwest said that this $8 service is available on 435 of their planes.