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MAKING IT READY

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DSC00073.JPGThose of you who read Sunny Abercrombie's post CAN WE BOTTLE THAT SMELL? will remember when she asked the question, "love that new car smell?" Well I'm here to tell you that there is nothing like the smell of a new Boeing 737-700. On September 26, 2006, aircraft N257WN DSC00070.JPGwas delivered to Southwest Airlines from the Boeing Company, and upon its arrival in Dallas, it taxied onto the ramp just outside of the maintenance hangars. The Mechanics then towed it into the hangar. If you had any sense of smell, it would not have taken you any time at all to realize that there was a new airplane in the hangar.                      Why would a brand new airplane just delivered from the manufacturer be brought to the maintenance hangar you might ask? When an airplane is delivered to us from Boeing it is airworthy, but there are a few items that are added. Richard "Blaze" Blazek, THE BLAZE.jpgone of our veteran Mechanics of 23 years was part of the crew that performed the work on the new airplane, and he explained to me the process that we go through when we receive a new airplane:  "We have to do a MAKE READY check; that's when we add other items to the airplane that Boeing did not, items like trash cans, ice buckets, coffee makers, the onboard wheel chair, and decals/placards, just to name a few. DSC00067.JPG DSC00069.JPG DSC00068.JPGWe also make some other minor modifications. It's less expensive for Southwest to finish preparing the aircraft for service than having Boeing do it."                           Let me hear from you if you are one of the lucky ones to fly on one of our airplanes that has the new smell of leather.   
33 Comments
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Great post, Gordon. I was recently on a new plane and can attest to that "new plane smell." A new car has nothing on a new plane....137 new leather seats...reminds me of that SW commerical where the passengers "unwrap" the seats and one guy smells his seat.
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Gordon, We envy you getting to "smell that smell" and to get to be among the first folks on one of your new planes! While I don't know how fresh the planes were, since I don't know how 'fragrant' they are when they start out, but I've been on several flights where I could tell the second I stepped through the door from the jetway that I was on a fairly new plane. Not only the aroma, but everything just looked so new! If I could figure out where the odometer is, I'd peek into the cockpit and see if it really was brand new. You guys should do what new car owners do to show off their purchase -- leave the Boeing sticker in the window for the first week or so! Ha ha Kim 🙂
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I had the pleasure of being on N256WN about 3 days after it entered service. That smell is so strong you can smell it at the top of the jetway! I even made an announcement to the passengers that they were on the newest plane in our fleet (and to try to keep it new as long as possible!). 🙂
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I recently flew SWA from Midway to Philly. As a licensed pilot and builder of complex RC aircraft, I was surprised to see all the aluminum skin patches on the fuselage of the airplane I was boarding. This had to be due either to severe hanger rash or stress cracking known to exist in high time commuter planes. It looked like bandaids all over the place! Needless to say I was a bite uncomfortable getting into this thing. Shouldn't this plane be a candidate for the scrap heap? I thought SWA was doing well? I am happy to see at least one new plane in the fleet. On a different subject, when are you going to give up on those dry snacks and peanuts. How about a sandwich and a Hershey bar with that beer and coke? Oh well, you're still the best and I'll continue flying SWA. Thanks, David
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Hi David, While we have one of the youngest fleets in the sky, some of our aircraft do have reinforcing plates. Aircraft "win" these over their lifetime for a variety of reasons--one of the biggest is ground equipment like beltloaders and jet bridges contacting the aircraft too hard. It's rare to see an aircraft over a couple of years old without some kind of reinforcing patch added. Brian
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So how much more fuel efficient is the -700 than the original 737's... and how many of each are in the Southwest fleet?
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If it takes dry snacks and peantus to keep the flights cheaper for all, I'm completely fine with it. It's kinda funny actually. I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about traveling. She commented that it's funny to want snacks on flights when we make 1-4 hour drives without any kind of snacks. Why is it any different? 😛
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I had this aircraft come through BDL (Hartford, CT) a few days ago, and I immediately christened it "my plane." The day it went into service is my birthday! Keep it clean, y'all!! Just looove that new plane smell.
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I've been seeing the Boeing jet with Sailplane wings advertised on TV. When will Love field see the Boeing 787?
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Patrick, 700's w/o winglets can gfo 3365 nautrical miles and the cfm's have 26,300 lbs thrust per Boeing.com the 200's could go 1855 nautical miles and the jt8d's were rated from 14,000 to 16,400 lbs of thrust per "Modern Commercial Aircraft" I believe the blended winglets add 900 nautical miles to the 700's range and allow cruising at 41,000 feet. As for the current fleet breakdown all 200 have been retired for over a year. There are: 194 300 series, 25 500 series, and 256 700 series, all but one have winglets. The used one from ford will get them in Jan along with a HUD. Sources 10- Q and airliners.net. There is one more new 700 to be delivered in Oct, and 2 each in Nov and Dec.
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David, These aluminum skin "patches" are a good thing. SWA does not spare any expense in making these repairs, while many of their competitors just slap a piece of duct tape over their 'oops' places. Ryan, As a traveling salesman, I spend a lot of hours on the highway. Speak for yourself about driving for four hours with no snacks! My kids have introduced me to, and trained me in, the fine art of making stops at the QT Drink Stations where the combinations and variations of drink mixes are endless! Kim 🙂
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KIm, I don't think duct tape is allowed. More like "speed" tape 😜
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The best description I've heard of the "new plane smell" was "It smells like the interior of a thousand Corvettes."
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Outstanding post by Gordon . Big thanks to Blaze for all the helpful information on the " Making it ready " . If we could only bottle that " New Plane" smell and on every overnight clean check performed by our Appearance group , spray that fragrance on each Aircraft . Priceless ................
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I had a new 700 from Oklahoma to St Louis, the flight and landing was so smooth that I fell asleep during the flight and did not wake up until the Captain went to stop the plane in St Louis. One of the best flights I ever had.
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Kim, Point well taken! I don't have kids! 😄
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What is the oldest plane in Southwest's fleet? Is the 737-700 safer than the 300? I have a flight booked in January. How can I see what type (and age) of plane I will be boarding?
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The oldest aircraft in our fleet, I think, is "Kitty Hawk" N300, which is a 737-300. The 737-300 is just as safe as the 737-700. It's very hard to determine what type of A/C you will be boarding... because the aircraft could be changed at the last minute for some unforeseen reason.
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There is a link on the side of this blog to a great flight tracker site called Flightaware. If you go there and you do know your flight number(s) you can key them in track a flight window. Let way your flight number was 1783 Just key in SWA1783 for the flight number when the information loads it will tell you which type of 737 last flew that flight number. Unless there is a last minute change it's a pretty good guide. There are also some sites that list the fleet of Southwest by delivery date if you know the Nxxx number. 737-700s are 1997 and newer planes. 737-500s are either 1990, 91 or 1992 planes. 737-300s range from 1984-1998. Source: airfleets.net
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Thank you, actually we are flying out of Buffalo and if you go the the Buffalo Niagara Airport's web site, under schedules, you are able to see what flights are coming or going to/from a destination. It also advises which type of aircraft it is. Obviously it does not tell you what the age or tail number is. I was more interested in how old the plane may be. I don't feel real good about taking my family on a plane that was built in 84". (maybe I just worry too much)
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Hi Rob, The average age of our fleet is about nine years old (which is quite young for the industry), and the biggest portion of our aircraft are new 737-700s--we have taken delivery this year on over 35 of them. If you are on a longhaul flight from Buffalo, it most likely will be on a 737-700. Even if you should be on our oldest aircraft, it is just as safe as the one delivered new from the factory last week. All of our older aircraft have essentially been completely rebuilt as they progress through their scheduled maintenance. Our Mechanics, like Gordon, live and breathe Safety. Whenever they complete a maintenance task, their name goes on the record for that action, and they take great pride in their work. Since I grew up in an airline family, I have been around Mechanics all my life (that's over 54 years), and I have never seen finer and more dedicated Mechanics than we have here at Southwest. You will be in great hands! Brian
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Thank you, I do recognize Southwest as an outstanding airline. I have flown with you in the past and will continue to do so. I appreciate your comments. I gotta tell you the price from Buffalo to Orlando is incredible. $156 Canadian return.(I'm sure it would cost twice that just in gas to drive there not to mention two days of the road each way). To fly from Toronto it is well over $400Can. Well worth the little extra travel. Let's keep it our little secret. Rob
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Here is an example for the 5:10 1 stop from Buffalo to Los Angeles with a stop in Phoenix. Yes, this one gets a 700. http://flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA2512
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That's a good site. It's interesting to use as you can see what planes are flying over your house. I've been playing around with it for a few months. I just punch in my local airport code and it shows me what's above (of course with a 6 min delay). Pretty neat. As far as the buffalo-Orlando route goes I have used Southwest several times and sometimes it's a 300 and sometimes a 700.
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Hello SWA FamilyÃ
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hi , when will that new hanger for southwest be finished in dallas.
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Hi Carmine, By the end of this year...
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will southwest be hiring mechanics for that location?
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Hello! I just wanted you to know that I love flying southwest. For me flying can be somewhat difficult b/c I have a fear of flying, but the crew on the flight do calm my nerves and make the flight more enjoyable. I did have a question though... you say that you're average age of you're planes are 9 years.. does that mean most of them were built in the 90's?? I know the the 737-300 were made in the 80's, so does that mean that you're 737-300 were made in the 80's or you have newer ones that were made in the 90's?? Like how do you figure out you're average?? I just want to make sure that they are just as safe as the new 737-700. Thanks!
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averages are figured like all averages. add all the ages of all the planes together and divide by the number of planes. example 5 air planes with ages of 1,1,3, 10,5 =20 divided by 5 = an average age of 4 years old or 2,3,1,6,6,=18 divided by 5 = 3.6 this goes for how ever many planes or items you want
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I'm wondering what the original southwest aircraft looked like from 35 years ago, was it the same as now? Also, every 737 has the same overhead bins, cealing panels, restroom interior etc. Like, what features do you have to or boeing has to to make it a southwest aircraft? I also used to assume that the brown colored southwest planes are older and not as modern like the seats are different colors and the aircraft is more old and worn out. I know some of the brown planes are older but I was on a brown plane that looked the same as the new canyon blue color scheme. Dou you refurbish aircraft, repaint, or just mix the colors around. And what does the plane have when it comes from boeing. I think southwest should offer more snack choices like blue chips, chocolate chip cookies etc. And even on flights from new york to california do you still just have peanuts and crackers? Overall, I love southwest cause you are cheap fares and friendly service.
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I have a BIG problem with the snacks being served on Southwest. My husband and I fly every six weeks, and have, in the last year, noticed that every bagged snack has PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED OILS as ingrediants. The CDC and my CARIOLOGIST have stated that there is absolutely NO safe level of PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED oils acceptable. My question is...if Southwest "luvs" us the way we love them, why are they trying to kill us??????
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Have ya'll thought about aquiring some of United's old 737-300 or 500's that they recently retired?