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Looks like you'll be able to get much more than peanuts the next time you fly on Southwest Airlines. As reported by AppleInsider, the popular American low-cost airline announced an extension of its relationship with Dish Network today that would put an iPad 2 in the hands of any traveler who wishes to use one for select flights.
"Select" being the key word here. According to the report, the only flights that support the offer fly between Chicago's Midway airport and Denver and Oakland. The process itself is comparatively simple. Just pick up a an iPad 2 at the Dish kiosk at one of the three airports, and then you'll return it at the corresponding kiosk at one of the others.
Surprisingly, all this comes at no cost to the traveler. The promotion itself is called "TV Flies Free," and each iPad will allow passengers on the Wi-Fi-enabled flights to watch on-demand content and live programs for no cost. Indeed, even borrowing the device itself won't incur any additional charges. A version of the promotion has been in place since July, but until now it was limited to letting customers watch programs on their own devices.
The move by Dish and Southwest represents a small part of a wider trend that sees tablets becoming an essential part of the flying experience. We've seen in the past how airlines like Qantas and Hawaiian Airlines have used iPads and iPad minis as entertainment devices for their passangers, and many other airlines like American and United have switched out the bulky flight manuals of the past for the convenience of Apple's signature tablet.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.