Southwest Airlines Is (Still) Doing Live Concerts As In-Air Entertainment. (Still) Kill Me Now.

by SharonKurheg

Imagine flying somewhere and getting settled in your assigned seat. You’re all ready to do some stuff for work, or maybe read a book, or watch a movie, or maybe you just plan on sleeping. And once you hit 35,000 feet, all of a sudden, surprise!, a concert starts on the plane.

Yes, really.

Thanks to a deal with Warner Music Nashville, Southwest’s “pop-up concerts,” which have been happening on and off since 2011, are an official thing with a name: “Live at 35.” Initially launched in 2017, as per Southwest, “We take our love for Artists on the Rise to new heights in our ongoing series featuring one-of-a-kind performances onboard flights at 35,000 feet.”

As an example of the shows they’re doing, when Southwest was celebrating the kick off of this event, American country music singer-songwriter and Atlantic Records/WMN performer Devin Dawson played a show for passengers heading from Nashville to Philadelphia, after which he walked down the aisle and handed out souvenir guitar picks and CDs.

Concerts are not announced ahead of time and since this is a relatively new enterprise in the airline industry, sometimes unexpected things happen during the show – in the above case, a bad amp forced one of Dawson’s accompanying guitarists to turn into a second cameraman.

Live at 35 sounds like a great idea for those who enjoy pop-up concerts in unusual places. For other, well,  it seemed that some unexpected concert-goers took to Twitter after the Dawson show to express their opinions – one attendee suggested that Southwest should focus on good food, leg room, and clean bathrooms, instead of in-flight concerts. Another tweeted that nobody asked for live bands, while yet another tweeted that free WiFi on flights would be nice. Which bring up a good point – Southwest is apparently using the Live at 35 program to increase their passengers’ enjoyment of their flights; I get that. But why not simply focus on the things that passengers usually don’t like about flying? It’s an interesting question, don’t you think?

Anyway, the whole thing kind of reminds me of the pop-up shows that Icelandair had been experimenting with (but I think they finally dropped).  As for me, what I said about this last year remains the same: I’ll keep bringing my noise-canceling headphones, thank-you very much.

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Dave G January 14, 2019 - 10:38 am


SharonKurheg January 14, 2019 - 10:47 am

Agreed! I wrote the bulk of that article last year and reposted it as a “refresher/update.” I didn’t see much on SW’s website about it, and the only articles I saw were from last year as well. So I tweeted them and asked if they were still doing it. They very excitedly told me that they were.

We like SW a lot. If we ever get one of “those” flights, I will want to die. SO intrusive.


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