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2014 is totally the year for Southwest Airlines. Not only has the low-cost carrier finalized hugging AirTran into the company and begun flying internationally, but they've managed to (finally) get onboard with mobile boarding passes and welcome some 737s with split scimitar winglet efficiency into the fleet.
Today marks yet another milestone for the airline this year, as they've introduced an entire new look for their planes, their logo, their website...everything.
"Southwest Heart" is the official name of the style, which adopts a darker shade of blue and a larger "Southwest" text than the current "Canyon Blue" livery. Although it'll take a grand total of 7 years to repaint all of Southwest's fleet with Heart, airports will adopt the new look for their desks and other areas by 2016. Starting off the revamp is, of course, Southwest's home base of Dallas-Love Airport.
Good news from the folks over at Southwest Airlines, as the airline has announced several new routes between the States and Mexico.
The carrier has been adding over the border destinations this year, many to the Caribbean, and now it's flying to a couple new spots down in south of the border. These are all flight paths that have been inherited from its acquisition of AirTran Airways, so rather than totally new routes, they’re kind of like revamped routes.
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Attention kiddos! You best remember to keep your electronic gadgets charged and ready before your next flight, as Southwest Airlines has a new in-flight entertainment channel geared right to your tastes.
Okay so it’s not just for kids, but programing from Cartoon Network will now be delivered via WiFi through the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system. Just do note that aboard Southwest Airlines it’s going to be a bring your own device situation, so keep that phone or tablet nearby.
We’d imagine that refreshing and upgrading a cabin creates plenty of trash, rubbish, and garbage. However, it looks like the leather seating surfaces used by Southwest Airlines will find a second life after their time up in the air is complete.
The airline details things over on their blog, but we figured we would share things with you as well. It’s pretty darn neat. It’s all part of the airline’s program called LUV Seat: Repurpose with Purpose, as they turn old stuff into better stuff—or what they call upcycling rather than recycling.
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Today, Southwest Airlines celebrates its 43rd birthday. The airline first launched on June 18th, 1971, with flights from Dallas to Houston and Dallas to San Antonio. It has grown up quite a bit since, spreading all over the US as well as to the Caribbean.
To celebration the occasion, the airline is holding a sweepstakes with two grand prizes, one to Tucson and one to Montego Bay. Entering takes about 30 seconds, and you have until June 30th to register. The winner will be selected via a random drawing on July 1st.
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We try our best not to pick on one airline, but let’s just say that there are airlines up with the latest in technology and then there are carriers like Southwest. Thankfully they’ve slowly but surely been catching up with what some of the other guys have to offer, as there’s now even WiFi aboard plenty of their flights. Now they’re finally pitching the paper and going electronic, as mobile boarding passes are finally an option across pretty much all of their flights.
Domestic flights to here and to there are now all offering up mobile boarding passes, so that’s good to know when you’re running late and still have to ditch the rental car back at the garage. It all arrives as part of an upgrade to their mobile app, as now goodies like itineraries, flight status updates, and your gate number can be accessed with just a tap or a swipe.
The process finally looks like it's wrapping up, as the combined carrier just announced when AirTran will be disappearing once and for all. Luckily there's still a few more months to slip AirTran safety cards before the brand says sayonara.
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The average traveler is only going to glance at signage around a boarding gate a few times before heading out onto a flight. These signs flash information about connections, upgrades, reminders about rules and regulations, and where you might be on the standby list. Most airlines have had digital flatscreens for years and years, but that hasn’t been the case for Southwest Airlines.
Things are finally changing, and it's all positive for departing passengers. Up first for installations and improvements is Chicago-Midway, as the new gate displays have already started to arrive at the airport.
It seems like Southwest has been thinking about this for years and years, and that was especially the case when it decided to gobble up operations over at AirTran. Now things are a reality, as Southwest Airlines is planning to cross the border for the very first time.
This summer will be when the flights first take to the skies, as the initial international flights are scheduled to begin on July 1. Do not expect long haul journeys across continents and oceans, but if you’re looking for the warm waters of the Caribbean, Southwest will have you more than covered.
The landing of the plane, a Boeing 737-700 carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was uneventful. It was a normal flight, with a normal, non-emergency landing, with the only difference being the 737 landed at the wrong airport.
Originally set to fly Chicago-Midway to Branson, MO, and on to Dallas-Love Field, Southwest flight 4013 instead touched down on the 3700' runway at a tiny general aviation field, M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (PLK), just outside Branson. While the crew expected the 7100' runway at Branson and a regular terminal to park and offload passengers, there was some hard braking and some tarmac wait time.
Thankfully, that was the extent of the discomfort for the 124 flyers and 5 crew, who were speedily bussed over to the correct airport to board another Southwest 737 the airline had rapidly dispatched for them.
The story can actually be seen, abridged, in the tweets of passenger Scott Schieffer (@scottdallastx):
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Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of all the new route announcements that come our way, so we’ve complied a little bit of a rundown below. As long as you can afford the fares, this should definitely help add to your passport stamp collection.
· All Nippon Airways:
Plenty of Boeing 787s are now circling around the globe, and this week is no exception with another new route announcement. The folks over at All Nippon Airways will be adding a new daily nonstop option between Tokyo-Haneda and Munich, and they’re also adding a new flight between Tokyo-Narita and Düsseldorf. It looks like the flights will take to the skies for the first time on March 30, and it will be Boeing 787s doing all of the up in the air stuff back and forth between the different cities and countries. It’s just another option to get aboard one of these new planes—and to check out some new spots—so we’re not complaining.
· Southwest Airlines:
The planes and people over at Southwest Airlines have opened up their schedule well into 2014, as flights are now bookable through June. That means there’s also some new options to check out, as the carrier has added some new flights to get you to where you need to be. Out of New York-LaGuardia Southwest will be doing the nonstop thing to new spots like Nashville, Houston-Hobby, Chicago-Midway, and Akron-Canton over in Ohio. It should be around May 11 when these flights start cruising at 35,000-feet. They’re also mixing things up down in San Diego, as Southwest Airlines will also be connecting the California coast with spots like Orlando, Seattle, New Orleans, and Portland—the one in Oregon.
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The way in which Southwest Airlines does the in-flight WiFi thing means that the internet waves can operate from gate to gate. That’s pretty slick, as it sets them apart from competition. Things are about to get even better, as the carrier just announced that some in-flight messaging will be arriving soon to an airline seat near you.
Those who prefer the flavor of Apple when it comes to their mobile device are welcome to utilize the iMessage feature on their iPod, iPhone, or iPad. Users with iOS 5 or later can now keep things powered up, switched on, and stay connected.