As more and more people return to flying in a post-pandemic world, airlines are scrambling to lure these travelers back to their respective brands. Southwest Airlines has stepped up their game to meet the needs of business, leisure and bleisure travelers. Airlines regularly survey customers to determine what their expectations are and implement changes and improvements to meet those needs.
Here are some of the enhancements that Southwest will be rolling out:
In-Seat USB Chargers
The request that most customers have all been wanting since the advent of the cell phone will finally be here early next year. You can expect to find USB-A and USB-C ports in every seat back, starting with the 737 aircraft. They will be designed to avoid compromising legroom.
Expanded In-Flight Entertainment
We all know that we need to be entertained on long flights. Southwest is doubling the number of movies available in its free in-flight entertainment portal this year. From movies, live and on-demand TV, music, and texting via iMessage and WhatsApp are all free on Southwest flights. Later this month, the airline will also introduce an improved flight tracker and add 3D cockpit views. Now you can see what’s really going on in the cockpit.
We have become a society that needs to be connected. This includes while we are in the air. Wi-Fi upgrades are expected to immediately double the current bandwidth on some aircraft and provide the capability of up to 10-times the current bandwidth on 350 planes by the end of October. Wi-Fi service is available through Southwest for just $8 a day for each device. This is the cheapest of all airlines.
More Overhead Bin Space
We have all seen it. Passengers fighting over overhead bin space. Trying to arrange a bag over someone’s head can be a hassle and very awkward. Especially when it isn’t your own bag that you are trying to move to make room for a bag that you’ve brought on-board. Beginning early next year, new aircraft will feature larger overhead storage bins for carry-on luggage.
Added Alcohol Options
Hard seltzers and more alcohol options will join the list of Southwest’s in-flight beverage selections starting in September. This is perfect timing for passengers who may have hung onto free drink coupons that expired earlier in the pandemic since those vouchers will be honored through the end of the year.
Additional Pre-Flight Changes
Southwest also announced a big change for parents and caretakers of young children. Previously lap riding children could not be designated as such until passengers checked into their flights at self-service kiosks or service desks at the airport. Starting later this year, customers will be able to do that while booking their reservations.
Additionally, customers will be able to purchase upgraded A1 to A15 boarding priority for themselves and others in their party through Southwest’s mobile app up to 24 hours before departure. Southwest does not assign seats, so the sooner passengers board, the wider their seating options are.