Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Is Leveling Up In 2023, Here's What You Need To Know
As 2022 comes to a close, we’re all thinking about how to elevate in the new year. Southwest Airlines is on this wave and have big goals to achieve in 2023. The airline is introducing upgrades to its amenities, boarding process, and more.
If you’ve never considered flying with Southwest Airlines before, their 2023 goals may change your mind.
Here’s what you can expect from the Dallas-based airline in the new year:
After hearing complaints from passengers about the lack of inflight Wi-Fi, Southwest Airlines is upgrading its fleet of Boeing 737 with more reliable access to Wi-Fi. 260 aircraft have already been upgraded. By the end of January, the airline aims to have 350 completed. The airline hopes to complete the entire fleet before the third quarter of 2023.
The internet provider, Viasat, is known to have the best inflight internet connection.
Larger overhead bins and seats
MAX 8 aircraft will have larger overhead bins next year, holding up to six rolling suitcases arranged on the sides.
Seats will also get a major upgrade, with adjustable headrests, a storage pocket behind every seat, and a standard-sized tray table.
Upgrades for remote workers on the go
Avoid the frustration of your device going dead because Southwest Airlines is outfitting its planes with ports. The back of each seat will have USB-C and – A ports with up to 60 Watts of power. The ports will be available in June 2023 on new 737 MAX 8 models.
A better boarding process for families
The airline assigns seats once passengers board the flight. Passengers board by their position number, which can be frustrating for families hoping to sit together. To fix this issue, Southwest Airlines will trial a family boarding program, allowing two adults and children six years old or younger to board before group A. If families choose to skip the boarding line, they will have to sit in the back of the aircraft.
If the trial goes well, the airline may roll out this offer to more flights.
More flights during ‘golden hour’
Golden hour occurs between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Southwest Airlines knows that passengers enjoy flying during the day and are trying to reduce turn times to add more flights during golden hour hours.
Reducing turn times
Southwest has been known for having 10-minute turns since its beginning in 1971. Planes would deplane a flight and board the next flight within 10 minutes. This allowed Southwest Airlines flights to fly frequently. As a result of regulatory requirements, those turn times have become longer, but the airline is working to minimize the time it takes to deplane and board.
To do so, they’re working on digitalizing pre-departure paperwork and upgrading signage at the gate area.
Southwest Airlines prides itself on being a flexible airline. Passengers can cancel their flight up to 10 minutes before departure without being charged. Other airlines matched Southwest’s policies during the pandemic and eliminated change fees. Southwest, staying steps ahead, announced over the summer that flight credits would never expire. They even allow passengers to transfer flight credits to another travel with its Wanna Get Away Plus program.
Renovations and expansions
The airline is opening a new terminal in Kansas City, which is expected to open by the end of the first quarter of next year.