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Evolve Cabin Passes the 6’6 Test!

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As a former professional football player, I was used to frequent travel on our team jet.  Now, I use Southwest as my own “team plane” in my weekly travels as a business professional.

With all of my frequent travel on Southwest, I’ve had the privilege of taking advantage of many Rapid Rewards perks, including my A-List status, which allows me to have priority boarding and other great amenities.  Well, recently my Rapid Rewards A-List status paid off in a special way.  I received a call from Southwest inviting me to a Rapid Rewards Customer preview of the new cabin interior.  Given the fact that I’m on an airplane more often than in my own car, I jumped at the chance to see what changes were in store.  

I was amazed by the clean, modern look of the cabin, but most importantly, I was ready to get in that seat to see how it felt.  After all, as a 6’6” former professional football player, you can imagine that space is a big priority for me.  Southwest certainly didn’t let me down. The new seats have a distinctly more comfortable feel.   The best way that I can describe it is rather than feeling like you’re sitting “on top” of the seat, you really sit “into” the seat.   I felt that there was additional space in terms of legroom, and the support from the newly designed headrest was ideal. 

After we all got settled into our seats, we were SHOCKED to learn that there were six additional seats on the plane.  I couldn’t believe it. After all, I didn’t feel my personal space had been compromised, and in fact, it improved.   What a tremendous accomplishment on the Engineers’ part to add in an entire extra row without compromising comfort.  I am impressed! 

After this experience, I was especially impressed by how passionate all of the Southwest Employees seemed about their jobs.  For instance, when the Engineers were walking us through the detail of the new seats, not only did their incredible level of knowledge come out, but it was their PASSION that truly amazed me.   It’s clear that Southwest Employees LOVE what they do!

Week in and week out, I rely on Southwest Airlines to get me where I need to be, and then back home again.   After having the privilege of playing wide receiver professionally, I’ve been fortunate to have an incredibly rewarding “off the field” career, which has me traveling on Southwest every week.   I divide my time between my role as a Human Resources leader for a healthcare company and my personal passions of motivational speaking, being a life skills coach, and serving as a leadership specialist.  I am ALWAYS on the go—flying across the country speaking to organizations such as Nike, the National Football League, Wal-Mart, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Boeing Company’s National Management Association, and more.  So why do I choose Southwest?  I like to describe it as “The Big 3.”

  1. Service – I am constantly amazed by the superior level of service that Southwest provides their Customers.  From the Telephone Agents to the Flight Attendants onboard, everyone is incredibly kind, and most importantly, genuine. 
  2. Value – In this economy, everyone is looking for a way to save.  Southwest provides an amazing value for their Customers, which is especially important to someone who travels as frequently as I do. 
  3. Speed – With Southwest, it’s rare that I’ve experienced long delays or canceled flights.  And, their turnarounds are the quickest I’ve experienced with an airline.  I also appreciate the speed in which Southwest Employees can accommodate my needs.  For instance, if I need to make a change or have a special request, the Employees are empowered to make the decision right then and there so that I can get on with my day.

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the new cabin—the new features fit perfectly with two of my big 3 reasons of why I fly Southwest—service and value.  Having a comfortable flight sets the tone for my entire trip, and I can’t wait to get onboard a new Evolve cabin aircraft.  Hope to see you on a future Southwest flight! 

5 Comments
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Is SWA accepting any -700's with the Boeing Sky Interior? I know the -800's and the MAX's will have it, so it seems to me that the savings would be greater for parts to maximize as many planes as possible with the interior, regardless of whether or not some -700's would have it and some would not...also since I'm sure the ones without the BSI would be the first to be retired down the road as they would be oldest.
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Awesome video... I am a Southwest Flight Attendant and I am so pleased to see such positive feedback from "real customers" on the new interior. I too can't wait to fly one one of our new -700's either! Thanks again great article Je'Mone! Nicole
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I'd have to disagree on the new cabin configuration. I fly Southwest a lot -- my preferred airline wherever I can get it, and absolutely love the culture and people and service at Southwest. However, in the one plane I boarded with the new configuration, I found the seat less comfortable, closer to the floor, and felt more crowded, as the seat seems to have a higher pitch (more straight up). The interior design is very nice looking, but don't like the new seats. No way can you get another row in the plane without giving up something. That all said -- it's still way better than coach in any other airline I fly. And the crew flies circles around even first class crew in any other airline with their genuine, caring attitude.
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Umm I just flew on a plane with the new interior, and before, the emergency exit row was huge and awesome, when I sat in a seat my knees didn't touch the seat in front of me, and the tray table wasn't 3 inches from my stomach. Personal space has been compromised, and I'm only 6'0 165 lbs (I'm tall and lean). The new interiors remind me of the personal space given on short hop planes in Southeast Asia. I have loved flying southwest in the past, but now I'm going to have to rethink my options, bag fees be damned.
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My family always flies Southwest. We think the Southwest employees are the friendliest around. I normally don't write on blogs, but I thought the new cabin configuration was worth writing about. First, I LOVE the new overhead bins. They are so much more spacious and I thought they were easy to open & close. Second, I really DISLIKE the new seat back pockets. They hold absolutely nothing. I think there should be enough space in the pocket for a normal size book (not everybody uses Kindles!) and a water bottle at the least. The new pockets accommodate nothing more than what is already there, i.e. the aircraft emergency instructions, a copy of Sky Mall & a copy of the Southwest in-flight magazine. Good luck trying to slip in even a Kindle or an iPad. And finally, I too sat in an exit row (the one with just 2 seats on the left-hand side of the plane) and I could not believe how little space there was for my legs. There did not appear to be any more leg room than in a normal row. Despite my negative comments above, I will still fly Southwest whenever I can!