Southwest Airlines has revealed new crew uniforms and new cabin interiors for the 737-800 as part of its updated Heart brand.
The airline first introduced its bold brand refresh with the unveiling of a new logo, aircraft livery and airport presence in 2014.
Southwest’s stylish new “software” harmonises with the very modern look of the hardware and reflects a brand crafted with plenty of love by in-house designers—including the use of the airline’s ‘Bold Blue’ and ‘Signature Red’ selected for the Heart brand palette.
“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,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer for Southwest Airlines. “Southwest continues to enhance our unique brand that brings reliable comfort and outstanding Hospitality to 98 destinations in eight countries.”
Southwest last redesigned its crew uniforms in 1996, also based on employee feedback and manufactured by Cintas.
For this latest redesign, Southwest put together a power team of 43 representatives from Ground Ops, Inflight, Provisioning, Tech Ops, and Cargo departments who dreamed up, debated, and ultimately designed the new look with the needs of their fellow employees in mind.
The new look was Beta tested by a group of more than 120 employees across 37 cities for “fit and comfort, performance and functionality, durability, aesthetics, style and ease of care,” the airline explains.
“Our energetic employees are the heart of our airline, and they were the perfect choice to design and develop our new look,” said 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 uniforms will now move into the final phases of select and manufacturing and will debut mid-June 2017.
The anticipated re-dress of the 737-800 cabin is a perfect balance of form, fit and function—with a big heart shown for planet Earth.
The airline has opted to use eLeather in Bold Blue to manufacture the seats. The airline first introduced eLeather to its interiors in 2012 and continued use reflects Southwest’s commitment to the environment.
This leather has several advantages. It is smooth and easily moulded to challenging designs while maintaining a neat appearance. But it’s a composed material, manufactured with an eco-friendly process that recycles 95% of the processed water and coverts waste streams into energy used at the plant.
The material is made from composite leather fibres—an earth-friendly repurposing of leather. It is also lighter than using full leather hides—reducing the CO2 impact of the cabin interiors because of lower fuel demand.
These beautifully crafted, elaborate covers will dress the airline’s new wider seats with adjustable headrests, more storage room for personal items, and improved comfort in the seat back and bottom.
Southwest employees also collaborated on the design of a new cutting-edge galley design which will be introduced on the new 737-800 aircraft. This transverse (aft) galley doesn’t have carts and lets Flight Attendants quickly prepare and serve SWA customers using meal trays. No carts also means less weight, which adds to the eco-friendly features of the airline’s new aircraft.
The aft galley is complemented with a new G7 galley past the forward-entry door which lets Flight Attendants serve the front of the plane quickly.
As a result of this new service style, customers get to move around the cabin, while the seatbelt sign is off, unobstructed by trolleys.
The airline will also store required cabin safety equipment in the front galley, leaving more space in the overhead bins for passengers to store their bags.
Southwest has three 737-800 aircraft with full Heart interiors already in service, and plans to have 28 additional aircraft flying their Heart out by the end of this year.