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Southwest Airlines Details $2 Billion Plan To Enhance Customer Experience


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Southwest Airlines has outlined plans for $2 billion in investments in the coming years designed to improve the customer experience from booking trips to deplaning.

The low-cost carrier, which was just awarded the 2022 JD Power Award for Highest Customer Satisfaction among economy carriers in North America, has committed to improving Wi-Fi connectivity onboard aircraft; installing onboard power ports to allow passengers to charge their devices at every seat; adding larger overhead bins; launching a new fare category with added flexibility and value (Wanna Get Away Plus); introducing more entertainment options and a wider selection of in-flight refreshments and enabling new self-service capabilities.

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Southwest is upgrading Wi-Fi equipment on its existing fleet with Anuvu’s latest-generation hardware, which will provide a significant improvement in speed and bandwidth up to 10 times the current hardware. The upgrades are expected to be completed on as many as 50 in-service aircraft by the end of May and 350 aircraft by the end of October.

The carrier is also working with Viasat to provide high-quality internet and live television programming onboard newly delivered aircraft beginning this fall.

“Top of our list is giving our customers reliable connections in the air to those things that are important and accessible to them on the ground,” Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said in a statement. “We’re investing in our onboard connectivity and bandwidth available to each customer with upgraded technology that’s now installing across our existing fleet, a strategy to diversify our Wi-Fi vendors on upcoming aircraft deliveries, and plugging Southwest customers into in-seat power to keep them charged while in the air.”

Southwest will install the latest-generation onboard USB A and USB C power ports on every seat with the help of a space-saving system that won’t limit passengers’ legroom. Travelers can expect to find these ports onboard 737 MAX aircraft beginning in early 2023.

“The ability to keep your devices charged while you are connected inflight is a request that we’ve heard consistently in ongoing conversations with our customers,” added Tony Roach, Vice President of Customer Experience and Customer Relations.

Southwest is also rolling out new functionality for airport kiosks and digital platforms. By late summer 2022, travelers will have the option to purchase Upgraded Boarding A1-A15 positions on their mobile devices when available. Additionally, Southwest will welcome larger overhead bins on aircraft deliveries beginning early next year.

Meanwhile, the airline’s aforementioned Wanna Get Away Plus fare is expected to become available to customers later this month, making it easier to transfer travel funds and confirm a same-day change to an available seat on a different flight between the same origin and destination without to change in base fare.

Finally, Southwest will expand its beverage selection starting this summer with a Bloody Mary Mix, followed by a ready-to-drink cocktail rolling out in September along with new options of Hard Seltzer, and Rosé. As far as its in-flight entertainment portal is concerned, the carrier plans to double the number of free movies currently available by the end of the year. What’s more, later this month, Southwest’s flight tracker will be upgraded to provide 3D views that offer aircraft information and customized destination guides based on your flight itinerary.

“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!’ 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,” Southwest CEO Bob Jordan said in a statement. “As we continue to welcome back loyal customers and win new ones, these initiatives, combined with the best people in the industry, support our purpose of connecting people to what’s most important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” .”

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