Free TV at 35,000 Feet

tvSouthwest Airlines is giving passengers another way to stretch their travel dollar.  The discount airline recently announced that it will be allowing customers to watch TV for free on all Wi-Fi enabled planes.

The new “TV Flies Free” offer is a budget-conscious traveler’s dream come true.  Just bring along your own personal device–iPhone, iPad, iPod or other Internet-ready gadgets–and Southwest will hook you up with satellite TV provider Dish network’s 14 live TV channels and 75 on-demand shows.  The new service is currently being offered on the airline’s 425-plus Wi-Fi equipped planes, which is nearly 75% of Southwest’s entire fleet.

While JetBlue and Virgin America have allowed passengers to watch TV at no charge for years, they’ve done so on seat-back screens.  Southwest is the first commercial carrier to provide live TV and wireless streaming to passengers’ personal electronic devices.

With summer in full swing, the price of flying is sky-high, so it pays to look at each and every way you can save on flights.  Southwest’s free TV is a great addition, but there are other ways you can reduce lofty airfares.

Travel insiders recently published a list of the cheapest destinations in the United States for summer travel.  They include:  Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston Massachusetts; Orlando, Florida; and San Antonio, Texas.  Airfare to these cities is relatively low during the summer months; however, prices vary depending on your departure city.

If you are looking to travel abroad this summer, but don’t have a ton of cash to burn on your flights, consider the following cheap cities:  Barcelona, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; Frankfurt, Germany; Madrid, Spain; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas.  Even if the aforementioned cities are not your top picks for a final destination, you can save money by using them as a gateway to travel to other international hot spots on one of Europe’s many discount airlines.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.