Southwest has unveiled plans to upgrade inflight wifi connectivity and install new generation power ports at every seat on selected aircraft, as part of an ongoing $2 billion investment to “transform the customer experience”.
The US carrier said it would upgrade wifi equipment using connectivity partner Anuvu’s latest-generation hardware, which it claimed is capable of providing speed and bandwidth up to ten times the current hardware onboard.
A total of 50 aircraft are set to have the new hardware installed by the end of this month, with 350 projected to be upgraded by the end of October.
Southwest has also entered into an agreement with Viasat to provide “high quality internet and live television programming onboard newly delivered aircraft” beginning this autumn.
Meanwhile the carrier also plans to install new-generation USB A and USB C power ports at every seat, starting with B737 Max aircraft in early 2023, and from next year new aircraft deliveries will feature larger overhead bins.
Other initiatives include enhanced digital platforms, allowing customers to purchase upgraded boarding positions on mobile devices, and to add lap child travellers when booking online.
A new ‘Wanna Get Away Plus’ fare is also being introduced this month, allowing customers to confirm a same-day change to an available seat on a different flight on the same route, without a change in base fare.
Southwest is also expanding inflight refreshment options, including a Bloody Mary Mix launching this summer, followed by a ready-to-drink cocktail in September, and the number of free movies available via the carrier’s inflight entertainment portal is set to double by the end of the year.
Commenting on the news Southwest’s CEO Bob Jordan, said:
“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.
“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.”