Southwest Airlines has introduced a new sleek cabin experience to enhance Customer comfort, improve fleet efficiency, and give back to the environment. Dubbed ˜Evolve: The New Southwest Interior′ , the cabin update utilizes durable and environmentally responsible products to reduce waste and create weight savings onboard the aircraft, while enhancing comfort for Customers.
Inspired by Southwest’s past with a nod to the airline’s future, the cabin refresh features recyclable carpet, a brighter color-scheme, and a more durable, eco-friendly, and comfortable low-profile seat that weighs less than the current seat.
The new interior design also provides the unique opportunity of greater revenue potential by increasing the number of seats onboard from 137 to 143, without sacrificing Customer comfort and personal space but, at the same time, increasing under-seat room for carryon luggage.
“We are preparing now for our next 40 years with a fleet modernization plan that includes the new interior, the Boeing 737-800 which is scheduled to come online beginning in March this year, and the 737 MAX, which is expected to join the Southwest fleet in 2017,” said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.
“The evolutionary changes we’re making with the new interior uphold our low-cost roots and historic focus on Customer Service. The cabin upgrade also allows us to create significant revenue opportunities without adding unwanted fees.”
Beginning with a partnership between Southwest’s Maintenance and Engineering and Marketing Teams, Southwest set out to improve the inflight Customer Experience while increasing the durability of onboard materials, but without adding costs. In 2009, Southwest launched the “Green Plane” to test the market’s latest sustainable products onboard an aircraft in an effort to forge a new path in onboard eco-friendly products.
Based on the inflight test results and feedback from Customers onboard the Green Plane, Southwest’s new Evolve interior features the E-Leather seat cover and many of the other products tested on the Green Plane including the carpet, life vest pouch, foam fill, and passenger seat rub strips. To view a time lapse video of a Boeing 737-700 transforming into the Evolve: The New Southwest Interior.
Southwest will begin retrofitting its current fleet of 372 Boeing -700s with the Evolve interior in March 2012, anticipating completion in 2013, for a total estimated cost of approximately $60 million.
As integration of AirTran Airways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest, moves forward, Southwest anticipates that AirTran’s Boeing -700s and 717s will also be retrofitted with the new cabin interior as those aircraft are converted into the Southwest brand over the next several years. Other Southwest fleet types are still being evaluated for a possible retrofit.