Southwest Is Upgrading the Flight Experience in a Big Way — Here's What's Changing
Southwest Airlines is upgrading its planes, installing personal chargers, larger overhead bins, and other perks customers have come to rely on, the company said this week.
The new additions are the airline's effort to "modernize" air travel for customers and will be rolled out over the coming months.
To start, Southwest is installing USB A and USB C power ports on every seat with plans to bring the chargers on board its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft starting in early 2023. The carrier is also increasing the size of its overhead bins for carry-on luggage starting next year (don't worry, travelers will still be able to check two bags for free), as well as upgrading Wi-Fi and even offering free Wi-Fi to customers on select flights to test the upgraded equipment.
"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!'" Bob Jordan, Southwest's chief executive officer, 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."
Additionally, by late summer, Southwest will roll out the ability to purchase upgraded boarding online on a mobile device, as well as plans to add the ability for passengers to add a lap child during booking online.
"We listen to our customers, and their insights help us deliver on and exceed their expectations," Jordan said. "Behind these commitments stand the legendary people of Southwest Airlines—ready to welcome customers onboard with warmth, hospitality, and LUV."
The new changes come weeks after Southwest announced a new fare class, Wanna Get Away Plus. The new fare, which the company said is expected to be available later this month, will allow travelers to take advantage of same-day changes and standby flights as well as transfer eligible unused flight credits to someone for future use.
The airline is also introducing several new routes this summer, including a new service between Maui and Kauai and service between San Jose, Calif., and Eugene, Ore., and between Sacramento and Santa Barbara in California.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.