The largest domestic airline in the U.S., Southwest Airlines, has announced that it will be installing power ports and upgraded Wi-Fi on some of its fleet. Power powers and Wi-Fi are staples on large airlines these days, necessary to woo travelers on long flights and business travelers who need to stay connected.
New Power Ports
Southwest will be installing USB-A and USB-C power ports on all new delivery 737-MAX aircraft beginning in 2023. Power will be available at every seat on the plane, and the ports where you can plug in your device will be built into the seatback in front of you (or under the seat for bulkhead and exit row seats).
Unfortunately, the power ports are only being installed on new aircraft; this means that current aircraft in the fleet will not see power installed anytime soon, and since the vast majority of the fleet is older model aircraft, your next flight will likely not have power capabilities.
Upgrades to Wi-Fi
While Southwest jets do feature Wi-Fi, the speeds lag other competitors in the country, so Southwest will be upgrading Wi-Fi capabilities with service provider Anuvu. Speeds and bandwidth will increase up to 10 times beyond current conditions, though tests are underway on select flights to stress-test the system with heavy usage onboard.
Southwest will also be keeping its arrangement with Viasat for high-speed internet and streaming television on new aircraft deliveries.
The airline was one of the first to offer onboard Wi-Fi over 10 years ago, and this has become an absolute necessity for getting business travelers to purchase tickets.
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Southwest is making several other improvements to its customer service:
- New onboard overhead bins that can accommodate more, larger bags will be available on new aircraft deliveries. Southwest is one of the only airlines to offer complimentary checked bags for all customers, though just because checked bags are free doesn’t mean everyone wants to.
- Southwest is improving its mobile app to soon be able to offer the ability to purchase A1-15 boarding position passes directly through the app without having to speak with an agent at the airport.
- New beverages are coming to the onboard selection, including a Blood Mary, a premixed cocktail, and a Rosé.
While the announcement of Southwest adding power to its planes is certainly exciting, the vast majority of aircraft will not have the new outlets, and customers will need to wait until these planes are either refurbished or retired before seeing new ways to power up.
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