Posted on: 20 June 2016 by Mark Howells
Southwest Airlines has announced the introduction of its first-ever employee-designed uniforms and Boeing 737-800 aircraft Heart interior featuring the new Heart galley and seat.
“Introducing our new uniform designs and fully branded 737-800 Heart interiors into the fleet is an accomplishment directly resulting from our hardworking employee design teams,” explained Gary Kelly, chairman, president and chief executive officer,Southwest Airlines. “Southwest continues to enhance our unique brand that brings reliable comfort and outstanding hospitality to 98 destinations in eight countries."
Southwest first introduced the Heart brand in September 2014, unveiling a new logo, airport experience, and aircraft livery.
On the new uniforms, the airline noted that its last complete redesign was in 1996. This time, Southwest has selected a new uniform designed by the employees along with its partners at Cintas. A group of 43 members of staff from the ground operations, in-flight, provisioning, technical operations, and cargo departments discussed, debated, and designed with fellow employees in mind. Once the design was complete, more than 120 employees across 37 cities tested pieces for fit and comfort, performance and functionality, durability, aesthetics, style, and ease of care.
“Our energetic employees are the heart of our airline, and they were the perfect choice to design and develop our new look,” remarked Sonya Lacore, vice-president cabin services and executive sponsor of the uniform redesign project. “Our brand, our planes, and our people are bold and modern, and the new uniform represents who our employees are – spirited, professional, unique, and approachable.”
The new uniform collection embraces the brand colours and the final selections will now move into manufacturing, and all employees will begin wearing the new uniform in mid-June 2017.
In the cabin, the new seat will give customers additional space and comfort with more leg room. As the widest economy 737 seat, the seat features an adjustable headrest, enhanced back and bottom comfort, and more room to hold personal belongings.
The seats are upholstered in Southwest's Bold Blue eLeather, a composition leather made of natural leather fibres. eLeather, which made its debut on Southwest aircraft in 2012, is manufactured using eco-friendly technology including state-of-the-art techniques which recycle 95% of the processed water and converts its own waste streams into energy, feeding back into the process.
To create a cutting-edge galley design, another group of frontline Southwest employees worked together. The design will allow flight attendants to serve customers even more efficiently than before. Unique in the airline industry, the transverse (aft) galley on the Boeing 737-800 does not have carts (resulting in lighter weight), which means flight attendants can quickly prepare and serve customers via trays. This will also allow passengers to move about the cabin with ease once the seatbelt sign is off.
With the addition of the new G7 galley (located just past the forward-entry door), flight attendants will be able to more quickly accommodate customers in the forward part of the 737-800. Additionally, new space in the forward galley area for required emergency equipment means more overhead bin space for customers.
Currently, Southwest has three 737-800 aircraft with full Heart interiors flying in the system. The carrier plans to have 28 by year's end.