Southwest The First Airline To Offer Gate-to-Gate WiFi Access

Now that folks are able to read their Kindles and continue racking up high scores in Fruit Ninja while their plane is taking off and landing, we suspected that it was only a matter of time before the deaded "10,000 rule" was axed for in-flight Wi-Fi. That said, we didn't see it happening so quickly. Starting today, Southwest Airlines flyers will be able to keep their tablets, smartphones, and other WiFi enabled portable devices connected to the aircraft's internet service for the entire duration of the trip, which includes takeoff and touchdown.

As Southwest puts it, customers will have the ability to remain connected "from the time they step onboard a Southwest plane to the time they exit." At the moment, Southwest is the only airline to offer this, despite many others still offering internet access once the plane is above 10,000 feet. The extended use of service on Southwest's WiFi-equipped aircraft is available at the same price of $8 per device, all day, including stops and connections, and users will also be able to enjoy free live DISH TV (or $5 movies) as they please.

The airline says that it underwent tough procedures to ensure safety throughout, which means that other airlines ought to follow suit shortly. The only thing we're still waiting for? The ability to actually use a proper laptop above and below 10,000 feet.