Southwest Airlines is known for its many freebies, things for which other airlines charge like changing your flight and checked bags. This includes Southwest text messaging, which is a FREE service, as well. I always enjoy using Southwest text messaging on the many Southwest flights I take FREE using miles and points each year. I love to stay connected to my family if they aren’t with me or even respond to a few work-related texts :).

How great that you can text FREE on your next Southwest Airlines flight?!

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Can You Text on Southwest?

Southwest text messaging plane

Yes, you can text on Southwest and for FREE!

Until 2019, Southwest charged $2 to text while flying or you got it free when you purchased the full $8 WiFi. Now, however, you can text free via WhatsApp and iMessage on most flights.

Being able to text while inflight is a game changer! You can notify loved ones that you will be landing soon and let them know they need to pick you up. Or finalize those trip plans by contacting your hotel or car rental company. If my husband is not traveling with me, it’s helpful to let him know when we’re about 15 minutes from landing in Indianapolis so he can head out to pick me up :).

And, only if you want… you can text with co-workers to keep everything running smoothly while you’re flying, too (unless you prefer a nap 😉). 


What You Need to Know About Southwest Text Messaging

Southwest plane interior

Messaging is currently FREE on Southwest!

How do you know if it’s available on your flight? You’ll need to log into Southwest’s WiFi and check the inflight entertainment portal.

Your flight will also need to have operational WiFi. I personally always ask the flight attendant when I board if the WiFi is working on the plane, because sometimes it is not.

And you’ll need to agree to the terms in order to receive access. You can do that on the Southwest text messaging page in the WiFi portal. 

Which Platforms Can I Use for Southwest Text Messaging?

Southwest plane interior wide

To take advantage of Southwest text messaging, you’ll need to download either the WhatsApp or iMessage app to your smartphone PRIOR to boarding.

Most iPhone users already have iMessage on their phone and currently use the app for texting.

When using the iMessage app, the blue text bubble indicates iMessage and the green text bubble indicates SMS. 

iMessage texting vertical

Unfortunately messaging will not work with SMS. Most Android devices use SMS, and iPhones use iMessage.

If you don’t have it WhatsApp, make sure to download it, so you can stay in contact with family and friends while flying. 

If you try messaging a friend and get an error message, it’s likely that your friend is not connected to iMessage, so it won’t work (it could also mean they have an Android phone).

Here is more information on Southwest text messaging from Southwest.

Have you tried to text on a Southwest plane?

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  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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