Southwest announced a lot of changes today to improve customer service that will benefit Hawaii visitors. That to the tune of $2 billion. These changes will arrive to a large degree faster and much more on Southwest Hawaii flights to other places. Read on for details and why that’s true.
Southwest seeks to “transform the customer experience.”
Southwest said they’ll be bringing significant upgrades, that will be especially beneficial on Southwest Hawaii flights, which are by nature among the longest durations the airline offers.
“Top of our list is giving our Customers reliable connections in the air to those things that are important and accessible to them on the ground,” said Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “We’re investing in our onboard connectivity and bandwidth available to each Customer with upgraded technology that’s now installing across our existing fleet, a strategy to diversify our WiFi vendors on upcoming aircraft deliveries, and plugging Southwest Customers into in-seat power to keep them charged while in the air.”
Why Southwest Hawaii flights will benefit most.
Southwest uses Boeing 737 Max aircraft extensively for their Hawaii flights. The reasons are clear. Most importantly, the planes have in the range of 10–12 % lower fuel burn than do the next generation 737 planes which they replace. These are specifically the planes that will receive Southwest’s Luv.
The airline is testing new and improved Wifi. They have already equipped 40 planes with the new faster service that’s designed to be offered free of charge. The testing is to ensure that the service functions as planned when it’s available to all passengers without cost. The plan is to have one-half of the fleet so equipped by this fall. The company currently charges $8 per day for their WiFi.
Onboard charging/power ports.
You’ve complained in many comments about the lack of charging ports on long 5+ hour Southwest Hawaii flights. Good news here is that these will arrive on Southwest planes starting in 2023, and they’ll come to Hawaii faster than elsewhere. The reason is that they’ll only be installed in their fleet of Boeing 737 MAX planes. Those planes are in wide use for Hawaii flights in part because they are far more economical to operate than the Next Gen planes which they are replacing.
Until this comes, passengers have had to rely on their own chargers or risk losing power on their phones and other devices. Southwest plans to have up to 250 planes so outfitted by 2023. They are to be installed at the seatback of every seat.
Whether those could also be retrofitted for non-Max planes isn’t clear.
Larger overhead bins will be most helpful on Southwest Hawaii flights.
Also coming to MAX planes, Southwest is adding the “Space Bins” offered by manufacturer Boeing. Those too, will begin to arrive in 2023 and can hold 50% more bags, according to Boeing.
More beverage and entertainment options, but still no food.
The airline said it plans to add new beverage options, especially alcoholic ones starting on Hawaii flights this fall. Southwest also said it’ll greatly increase the free movie options on its streaming entertainment system. With that in mind, it’s a good thing that they also plan to offer chargers. Also, a flight tracking app including 3D views will be added.
Regarding meals on long Southwest Hawaii flights, nothing has changed, and neither free nor paid meals are offered. So you may well want to pack your own.
We always like to hear your take on Southwest Hawaii flights and offerings.