Southwest Airlines is introducing a new look and feel, including updated aircraft cabin comforts and furnishings that are unmistakably Southwest®, as well as new RECARO aircraft seats. Along with these initiatives, Southwest has announced a revamp of its employee uniforms, giving more than 53,000 Southwest employees a more modern look.
New interior design and seating to improve cabin comfort.
Southwest Airlines collaborated with Tangerine, a global design firm specializing in transportation, to create an improved cabin interior for new aircraft deliveries starting next year. The design is based on significant research into customer and employee impressions of color, comfort, and their expectations for the whole onboarding experience. The pattern embodies the Southwest’s warm vitality with deep blue tones, sky blue highlights, and a tribute to the Southwest Heart woven throughout the carpet.
Customer research and product testing led Southwest to choose RECARO, a global producer of luxury airline seats, to provide comfortable seating that compliments the redesigned cabins’ soothing blue palette. The Southwest Heart will be featured throughout the interior, with the recognized sign debossed on seat headrests and a sunray pattern on the seats. Please visit SWAMedia.com for images of the cabin inside.
“Southwest flies above our competition with industry-leading flexibility and legendary hospitality,” stated Tony Roach, Southwest Airlines’ Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “Our redesigned cabin interior significantly enhances our inflight Customer experience and will complement the amazing service that our Crews provide.”
The new RECARO seats include a multi-adjustable headrest cushion for improved head and neck support, as well as an ergonomically designed seat that maximizes seat width and overall support. The enhancements continue, with each seat now including a personal electronic device holder, allowing customers to enjoy free1 in-flight entertainment on their devices more readily.
“RECARO is proud to collaborate on expanding our footprint in the Americas, especially when working with a local partner like Southwest, who began their story around the same time as us,” stated Mark Hiller, Ph.D., CEO of RECARO Aircraft Seating and RECARO Holding. “Our new seat will be a great addition to the Southwest Customer Experience, as its durable design and comfort features will serve Passengers well.”
“We’re excited to be a part of Southwest’s historic journey and the next phase in their modernization plan,” said Matt Round, Tangerine’s Chief Creative Officer. “We listened to Southwest customers and employees and responded by designing a unique new cabin décor that meets and surpasses their expectations. Working closely with Southwest and all suppliers involved, we were able to guarantee that the design objective was carried out to the greatest possible standard in the cabin. The spectacular result demonstrates what is possible when everyone involved works together.”
Newly Designed Employee Uniforms Will Take to the Sky
In addition, a Uniform Inspiration Team of 75 Southwest employees is collaborating with current apparel vendor Design Collective by Cintas and uniform brand consultant and fashion stylist Bonnie Markel to create the new look for Southwest employees who work in and around airports, including Inflight Operations, Ground Operations, Cargo, and Technical Operations.
“This design project brings together unique points of view in a dynamic and engaging co-creation process,” stated Caroline Bartek, Creative Director at Design Collective by Cintas. “It’s a true collaboration between Southwest Airlines and the Uniform Inspiration Team, Design Collective, and Bonnie Markel,” said Abby Groshek, an Apparel Designer at Design Collective by Cintas. “As the design process unfolds, Design Collective and Bonnie Markel are creating an apparel line that represents the Southwest Brand, with crucial input from the Uniform Inspiration Team Members who bring their everyday working knowledge and experience to ensure the apparel of the future fulfills all their functional and fashion needs.”
Other Customer Experience Enhancements Continue making Southwest easier to fly.
Southwest has been a maverick from its inaugural flight in 1971, disrupting the airline business by allowing individuals to fly and ushering in a new age of low-cost air travel. greater than 50 years later, Southwest remains the most flexible airline2, providing customers with greater value for their money with two free checked bags3, no hidden fees, ticket credits4, non-expiring Rapid Rewards® points, and world-class hospitality.
Southwest has completed many of the changes and activities indicated in a five-year investment and evolution plan for its Customer Experience, which was announced in May 2022. The most recent upgrades include:
Southwest upgraded their WiFi equipment fleetwide near the end of 2023 to provide an improved in-flight internet browsing experience with greater capacity and quicker speed.
All new 737 MAX 8 aircraft shipped to Southwest include onboard USB A and USB C power outlets, as well as bigger overhead bins. These capabilities will also be applied to current MAX 8 and 737-800 aircraft, with completion expected in the next years.
Southwest’s digital platforms and airport kiosks now provide free same-day standby5, digital bag tracking, and online baggage check-in, allowing customers to self-serve on frequent requests.
This year, improvements to the award-winning Rapid Rewards program6 make it easier for customers to achieve tier status7, and A-List Preferred Members may now enjoy up to two complimentary premium beverages every flight8. Customers will soon be able to pay for Southwest flights with both cash and Rapid Rewards points9. Additionally, Southwest intends to add a new onboard salty snack and refresh snack choices on flights between the United States mainland and Hawaii.