Southwest Airlines selects seat for future Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX aircraft

Southwest Airlines has selected the Customer seats for its future Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX aircraft deliveries. The carrier, in partnership with Boeing, will be the first to roll out the new seats, beginning mid-2016, on new deliveries of its Boeing 737-800. B/E Aerospace, who designed and engineered the seats, unveiled the new product today at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

In 2011, Southwest Airlines led the industry by announcing it would be the launch customer of Boeing’s new 737 MAX aircraft with the first delivery expected in 2017. As the operator of the largest Boeing 737 fleet in the world, Southwest will continue with tradition and lead the industry as the launch customer for the next generation in aircraft seating.

“The new aircraft seats are the widest economy seats available in the single-aisle 737 market, and offer a unique design that gives our Customers what they asked for: more space,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “Serving as the launch customer for this seat is just one of several upcoming milestones related to our bold, new look launched in September of last year, and is specifically aimed at enhancing our Customer Experience.”

Courtesy: Southwest Airlines.

Courtesy: Southwest Airlines.

The newly-designed seats, which will be seen on new 737-800s beginning mid-2016 join other significant brand milestones, including cabin interior updates on Southwest’s 737-700s which will begin later this year, and continued 737-800 deliveries in the new Heart livery. The industry-leading seats are wider than current seats, and include an adjustable headrest and increased legroom, as well as more personal stowage, while decreasing the overall weight of the product.

“The new, lighter seat allows us to continue to improve our fuel efficiency,” said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “This seat selection is just one more reason we are enthusiastic about our fleet modernization plans.”

The Company’s ongoing fleet modernization effort also includes the transition of AirTran’s Boeing 717-200 aircraft out of the fleet, the replacement of Boeing Classic aircraft with Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and the projected launch of the 737 MAX aircraft in 2017.

Courtesy: Southwest Airlines.

Courtesy: Southwest Airlines.

When it enters service, the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft—a brand new aircraft—will offer improved fuel efficiency, along with significantly reduced emission levels, and will provide the lowest operating costs among single-aisle aircraft. The seats are the first element of the 737 MAX aircraft interior to be released by Boeing and Southwest to the public. The Southwest seat coloras been chosen, and the seats will be upholstered with eLeather, a composition leather made of natural leather fibers. eLeather, which made its debut on Southwest aircraft in 2012, is manufactured using eco-friendly technology including state-of-the-art techniques which closed-loop recycles 95 percent of the processed water, and converts its own waste streams into energy feeding back into the process.

“Working closely with Southwest Airlines, we determined what the customer wanted, and our talented designers and engineers responded to that need,” said Mark Vaughan, B/E Aerospace’s Vice President, Sales & Marketing. “We’re proud to have partnered with Southwest since 1971 to create innovative products that customers will enjoy for years to come.”

Source: Southwest Airlines.

Video: Courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines unveils its new look

Southwest Airlines introduced a modern new look to its iconic brand today at an event dedicated to its Employees. The airline proudly unveiled a new aircraft livery, named Heart One, airport experience, and logo. The new look puts the airline’s Heart on display, showcasing the strength of the nearly 46,000 Employees Companywide—whose dedication can be felt by every Customer each time Southwest Airlines connects them to what’s important in their life.

“Our collective heartbeat is stronger and healthier than ever, and that’s because of the warmth, the compassion, and the smiles of our People,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. “The Heart emblazoned on our aircraft, and within our new look, symbolizes our commitment that we’ll remain true to our core values as we set our sights on the future.”

It’s a big year for Southwest, as the airline introduces its legendary brand to international destinations; the repeal of the Wright Amendment is within sight; and the integration of AirTran Airways operations is on track to be completed later this year. Southwest continues to evolve, serving more than 90 destinations, and expanding its footprint in big markets like New York City and Washington, D.C.

“With all these exciting changes happening, we thought it was time for a new visual expression of our brand—one that marries our past to our present and sets the course for where we’re headed in the future,” Kelly said.

New look, same great experience 

The announcement of Southwest Airlines’ modern new look introduces a striking new livery design, new iconic Southwest logo, newly designed inflight materials and magazine, an advertising campaign that celebrates the airline’s unique personality, and a revamped experience both online and at its airport locations, all of which showcase the unique spirit and Heart of the brand, and communicate its focus on Customer care. In addition, the airline will introduce a refresh to its signature “DING!” mnemonic.

To bring this all to life, Southwest collaborated with advertising and branding partners GSD&M, Lippincott, VML, Razorfish and Camelot Communications—each an expert in their own field. The task was given to distill more than 40 years of rich history into one modern, impactful look, representing the exciting future of a one-of-a-kind airline.

“The job wasn’t to change who we are,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest’s Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We already know who we are. The job was to keep the elements of Southwest that our Employees and Customers love, and to make them a bold, modern expression of our future.”

“With so much of Southwest’s focus firm¬ly set on the future, it was a natural time to look at our visual identity,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

“As we developed the identity, it wasn’t just about the new livery or the logo, but about developing the total, integrated brand expression of Southwest,” said Rodney Abbot, Senior Design Partner at Lippincott.

“The Heart is our identity the same way the Heart of our Southwest Employees enhances the Customer experience, said Krone. “It’s the finishing touch that makes the Southwest brand unique, demonstrating that Southwest cares about each and every Customer. Even on the belly of the plane, the Heart is a symbolic reminder that we put our Hearts into every flight.”

“For more than three decades, GSD&M has partnered with Southwest Airlines, so we certainly understand and believe in the power of Southwest’s Heart,” said Marianne Malina, President of GSD&M. “We were thrilled with the opportunity to partner with an extraordinary and talented team to bring Southwest’s love of People front and center. This work is a celebration of the great brand that Southwest has become and, most importantly, where it’s headed next.”

Southwest Airlines and its partners did comprehensive research and held numerous focus groups with Employees and Customers to determine how best to create the new look. The airline heard that it was important to remain unique and to retain its personality; for these reasons, Southwest continues to use the vibrant color palate and striped tail that has long identified the carrier, while adding a modern touch, proudly displaying the Southwest name on the side of the fuselage and presenting the Heart on the aircraft belly. Southwest has had several different liveries and logos throughout its 43-year history; remaining current and relevant is critical to the sustainability and future growth of the brand.

As a legendary low-fare carrier, Southwest doesn’t make a change this bold without first assessing cost impact. The approach and focus with this launch has been with the intent to remain cost-neutral by using a phased rollout. Aircraft will receive the newly painted livery within the aircraft’s existing repainting schedule, with new aircraft delivered in the new Heart livery. In addition, many of the future airport conversions will be integrated into existing and upcoming airport improvement projects. Because Southwest is taking this cost-conscious approach to the conversion of planes and airports, it might be some time before Customers and Employees see the new design in person.

In the meantime, Customers and fans can enjoy a closer look at Southwest’s new livery, logo, and aircraft experience by visiting www.southwest.com/Heart. Experience the announcement made earlier; a 360-degree view of the Heart livery; and hear from Southwest Executives on what the new look means.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements related to the Company’s new brand (including the timing and costs associated with the new brand), the timing of the Company’s integration of AirTran, and the Company’s growth plans. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s current intent, expectations, and projections and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) the impact of economic conditions, fuel prices, and actions of competitors on the Company’s business decisions, plans, and strategies; (ii) the Company’s ability to timely and effectively prioritize its strategic initiatives and related expenditures; and (iii) the Company’s dependence on third parties with respect to its rebranding plans.

Southwest Airlines Co.

In its 44th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Southwest is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The airline also operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 93 destinations in 40 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries. Some flights are operated by wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2013 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. With Southwest Airlines, Bags Fly Free ® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are no change fees (fare difference may apply) when you need to change your flight. Southwest’s fleet offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity over the United States, which enables live and video-on-demand TV currently FREE compliments of DISH, and a new, sustainable cabin interior. Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in May 2011 and by the end of 2014 intends to complete the full integration of the AirTran network into Southwest. With 41 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest and AirTran operate more than 3,600 flights a day. Southwest Airlines’ frequent flights and low fares are available online at southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.

Source: Southwest Airlines.

All media in this article is courtesy of Southwest Airlines.