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Southwest Is Making Three Major Upgrades in Its Planes

Last year, Southwest announced that it would invest $2 billion in inflight upgrades.

Exciting news for Southwest passengers is on the horizon: The airline is rolling out a fleet of 250 renovated aircrafts equipped with USB charging ports from now until the end of the year. The long-awaited upgrade will boost both a traveler's inflight experience, as well as their safety upon arrival, by reducing the chances of arriving in a foreign city with a dead phone battery.

More obviously, you will also now be able to use your tech devices throughout the duration of your flight with no issues. This is also partially thanks to Southwest's new and much faster WiFi.

According to The Points Guy (TPG), a "5-year-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 registered N8710M" was the first aircraft to undergo Southwest's new changes. After a month-long renovation, which included a spiffy new coat of exterior paint, the plane is back on the tarmac.

On April 28, passengers who boarded Southwest flight WN8725 with service to Long Beach, California from Spokane, Washington were the first travelers to test out the new charging ports.

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TPG reports that all seats come with two charging ports: a 60-watt USB-C port and a 10.5-watt USB-A port.

The ports were made with current charging cables in mind, meaning three-prong charging cables (like those used with an old Mac laptop) and square charging blocks (a two-prong) will not fit. Rest assured, these charging ports work with most phones, Kindles, and iPads, as well as larger devices such as laptops with USB-C chargers.

"We plan to have about 250 aircraft upgraded with power by the end of [2023]," Southwest's chief marketing officer Ryan Green told TPG.

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Location for the ports was a key consideration, Green added. He said Southwest wanted to make it as easy as possible for passengers to spot their seat's assigned charging port.

"Power's going to be installed in every seat, in the seat-back in front of you—so you don't have to hunt for the power outlet behind and underneath your leg," he said. That's probably good news for those who feel crowded on planes already.

So far, Southwest will only be adding charging cables to its Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts.

In addition to charging cables and faster WiFi, Southwest passengers can also look forward to more overhead bin space. The airline also announced that it would expand those compartments in size to hopefully accommodate more suitcases.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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