DALLAS – Southwest Airlines (WN) has unveiled a series of cabin and customer experience upgrades that will improve the airline’s ability to compete with other full-service U.S. carriers.
Updates to the airline’s hard product include the installation of power ports for mobile devices, larger overhead bins, and improved WiFi capabilities.
The USB type A and C ports will only be offered on WN’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft beginning in 2023. Currently, the airline has 74 Boeing 737-8 in its fleet, with firm orders for MAXs totaling 234.
According to the airline, access to power outlets has been a constant point of feedback from its passengers, which is understandable considering the ubiquity of power outlets on many domestic airlines.
In total, the airline will be investing $2bn in its upgrades, a significant marker of its commitment to stay competitive in the tough low-cost market.
Improved Inflight Connectivity
WiFi connectivity has become a crucial factor of the inflight passenger experience, with airlines quickly upgrading their products to stay competitive in their respective markets.
Southwest will be upgrading its WiFi equipment on its existing fleet through its provider, Anuvu, to provide an improvement in speed and bandwidth of up to 10 times greater than that of the current hardware.
The airline plans for Anuvu’s latest-generation hardware to be onboard 50 of its aircraft by the end of May, with 350 aircraft (roughly half of the airline’s fleet) projected to have the upgraded equipment by October.
Notably, WN has joined an agrement with Viasat, the leading provider of high-speed inflight internet and live television, to provide such services on newly delivered aircraft.
Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer said, “We’re investing in our onboard connectivity and bandwidth available to each Customer with upgraded technology that’s now installing across our existing fleet.”
Invoking upon the words of the airline’s venerable founder, Herb Kelleher, Bob Jordan, Chief Executive Officer said, “You can never stop working to get better, and as our beloved Founder Herb famously said, ‘If you rest on your laurels, you’ll get a thorn in your butt!’
He continued, “We have a long and proud history of offering Legendary Customer Service and warm Hospitality, and we have bold plans and significant investments to modernize and enhance the Southwest Experience.”
Featured Image: Andrew Henderson/Airways