DALLAS- Southwest Airlines (WN) is embracing a fresh appearance and ambiance with the introduction of redesigned aircraft cabin amenities and interiors that distinctly embody the Southwest® brand.
This initiative includes the incorporation of new aircraft seats from RECARO. Concurrently, Southwest is unveiling an Employee uniform refresh, imparting a modern aesthetic to over 53,000 Southwest Employees.
Southwest New Interior, Seats, and Uniform
Southwest Airlines has collaborated with Tangerine, a prominent design company specializing in transportation, to craft a refreshed cabin interior for new aircraft deliveries set to commence next year.
The design is rooted in comprehensive research, encompassing insights from both Customers and Employees regarding color perceptions, comfort, and their envisioned onboard experience.
Infused with Southwest’s vibrant energy, the design incorporates deep blue tones, sky blue accents, and a subtle homage to the Southwest Heart woven into the carpet.
As part of this revitalization, Customer feedback and product testing have steered Southwest to choose RECARO, a global supplier of premium aircraft seats, to deliver comfortable seating that harmonizes with the serene blue palette envisioned for the updated cabins.
The iconic Southwest Heart will be intricately integrated into the interior, featuring a debossed symbol on seat headrests and a sunray pattern on the seats.
“Southwest Airlines sets itself apart from the competition with unparalleled flexibility and our renowned Hospitality,” remarked Tony Roach, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Southwest Airlines. “The redesigned cabin interior significantly elevates our inflight Customer experience and complements the exceptional service provided by our Crews.”
The newly selected RECARO seats feature a multi-adjustable headrest cushion for enhanced head and neck support, an intuitively designed seat for optimal comfort while maximizing seat width and overall support. Further enhancements include a personal electronic device holder integrated into each seat, facilitating Customers’ enjoyment of free Inflight Entertainment on their devices.
Mark Hiller, Ph.D., and CEO of RECARO Aircraft Seating and RECARO Holding, expressed pride in the collaboration, stating,
“RECARO is proud to expand our footprint in the Americas, particularly through collaboration with a local partner like Southwest, who began their story at the same time as us. Our new seat will be a valuable addition to the Southwest Customer Experience, offering durability and comfort features that will serve Passengers well.”
Matt Round, Chief Creative Officer at Tangerine, shared his delight in being part of Southwest’s historic journey and modernization plan’s next phase. He highlighted the collaborative spirit among Southwest, all suppliers, and Tangerine, emphasizing that the distinctive new cabin interior is a testament to what can be achieved through such collaboration.
A Uniform Inspiration Team, comprising 75 Southwest Employees, is collaborating with the current apparel vendor, Design Collective by Cintas, and uniform brand consultant and fashion stylist Bonnie Markel to craft a fresh appearance for Southwest Employees operating in and around airports, including those in Inflight Operations, Ground Operations, Cargo, and Technical Operations.
Caroline Bartek, Creative Director with Design Collective by Cintas, emphasized the dynamic and engaging co-creation process of the design project, stating,
“It’s a true collaboration between Southwest Airlines and the Uniform Inspiration Team, Design Collective, and Bonnie Markel.”
Abby Groshek, Apparel Designer with Design Collective by Cintas, highlighted the collaborative effort to create an apparel line that reflects the Southwest Brand, incorporating valuable input from the Uniform Inspiration Team Members who contribute their everyday working knowledge and experience to ensure the future apparel meets both functional and fashion needs.
Some Customer Enhancements
Since its inaugural flight in 1971, Southwest Airlines has been a trailblazer, revolutionizing the airline industry by democratizing air travel ushering in a new era of budget-friendly flights.
Over 50 years later, Southwest continues to stand out as the most adaptable airline, providing customers unparalleled value with perks like two free checked bags, transparent pricing without hidden fees, flight credits, everlasting Rapid Rewards® points, and its globally recognized Hospitality.
Southwest has actively implemented a multitude of improvements and strategies outlined in its May 2022 five-year plan dedicated to enhancing the overall Customer Experience.
Some of the recent updates include:
Enhanced WiFi: By the end of 2023, Southwest completed the comprehensive upgrade of WiFi equipment across its entire fleet. This ensures an improved inflight internet experience characterized by increased bandwidth and faster data speeds.
Onboard power ports and larger overhead bins: New 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Southwest’s fleet are equipped with onboard USB A and USB C power ports, along with larger overhead bins. This feature will also be extended to existing MAX 8 and 737-800 aircraft, with the process expected to conclude in the coming years.
New functionality for digital platforms and airport kiosks: Southwest’s digital platforms and airport kiosks now boast enhanced functionality, providing customers with convenient self-service options for requests like Free Same-Day Standby, Digital Bag Tracking, and Online Baggage Check-In.
Ongoing enhancements to the Rapid Rewards program: This year, Southwest has introduced improvements to its award-winning Rapid Rewards program, streamlining the process for customers to achieve tier status. A-List Preferred Members can now enjoy up to two complimentary premium drinks per flight. Additionally, Southwest plans to offer customers the option to pay for flights using a combination of cash and Rapid Rewards points in the near future.
Exciting inflight offerings: Southwest has plans to introduce new onboard salty and refreshing snack options on flights connecting the U.S. mainland and Hawaii, further enhancing the onboard experience for travelers.
These initiatives underscore Southwest’s commitment to providing an exceptional and evolving travel experience, consistently exceeding customer expectations and solidifying its status as an industry leader.
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