Southwest Airlines is working on a plan to «transform the customer experience». To achieve this goal, is willing to make a strategic investment of USD 2 billion.
According to the company, the initiatives to be implemented are designed to improve and simplify customer travel from the time of booking the itinerary, in transit through the terminals and during the flight. The objective, according to Southwest, is «to offer a more pleasant, efficient and productive experience».
Among the services to be developed, the company highlighted enhanced onboard connectivity, the installation of personal device power ports at all seats, larger overhead bins with improved accessibility, a new fare category with greater flexibility («Wanna Get Away Plus»), more onboard entertainment options, increased refreshment offerings and the enablement of new self-service options.
«As we continue to welcome back loyal Customers and win new ones, these initiatives, combined with the best people in the industry, support our purpose of connecting people to what’s most important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel», said Bob Jordan, Southwest’s CEO.
The airline said it is working to improve onboard bandwidth on all its aircraft. In addition, it said it will adopt a strategy of diversifying WiFi providers for the next aircraft to join its fleet. The company is currently upgrading its existing fleet equipment with state-of-the-art hardware from connectivity provider Anuvu, which can provide a significant improvement in speed and bandwidth, up to ten times better than today.
Separately, Southwest recently signed an agreement with satellite connectivity provider Viasat to offer high-quality connectivity and live TV programming onboard aircraft delivered starting in the fall of this year.
Beginning in early 2023, the company’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will feature USB A and USB C power ports in every seat. «The ability to keep your devices charged while you are connected inflight is a request that we’ve heard consistently in ongoing conversations with our customers», said Tony Roach, Vice President of Customer Experience and Customer Relations.
The addition of new digital options will include new self-service options, such as the possibility to purchase priority boarding from the mobile app or the option to add non-seating minors to the reservation at airport self-service terminals. Improvements in that regard reduce phone calls and waiting times.
Southwest will also enhance its in-flight entertainment portal. By the end of the year, it will double the number of free movies currently available and upgrade the flight tracker to provide 3D views with aircraft information and personalized destination guides.
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