A Tip on Watching Live TV on Southwest Airlines

just a quick tip that might save y’all some trouble.

i got an email a couple days ago notifying me that my SFO-LAX flight on Southwest was going to be on a plane equipped with wifi and free live tv. i was intrigued! live tv on my phone! (this is probably old news for most of you, but new to me!)


when i got on the plane and tried to watch, though, i couldn’t figure it out.


What that green rectangle is for will become apparent.

i tried scrolling through the guide, clicking on shows, clicking on channels, clicking on times — all in an attempt to get the video to start.


turns out what you have to do is watch the intro video (the one that says “Enjoy free TV”) and then a link will appear where i drew the green rectangle saying something like “No thanks, let me watch TV”. only then will that video player change to whatever channel you have selected on the bottom guide (you only have to do this once). it may have been clearer on a larger screen, but on my phone, i was stumped. i thought maybe we had to wait until we hit 10,000 feet and i tried both Safari and Chrome on my phone, but nope. it’s that buried link you have to click.

tip there are no plugs, so be sure whatever device you’re using (it should work with most smartphones and laptops) is charged or you have a spare/external battery.

channel selection is fairly limited (15 channels or so) but the video quality is quite good! note that most of their on-demand shows are in the Food Network or HGTV vein, no sitcoms or documentaries or dramas.

i may have had to put up with a J-Lo movie but as you can tell by the sample screenshots i decided to take, i was fine with that since…erm (way off topic for a travel blog) the sexiest man alive (an undeniable fact) was starring in the movie with her.

the following screenshots were taken without pausing the video but when i was watching it on my phone, it looked just like HD.

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