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What's a Green Plane, you ask?

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Today is a big day here at Southwest Airlines.  It’s our annual Media Day: we invite our media friends in to learn about new things here at Southwest.  The theme is “Innovation in Aviation,” which is very fitting, because at Southwest, we are all about innovation and have been since our inception.  Innovation isn’t necessarily something you can teach—it really is an attitude, a spirit, a little something extra.  I think we might even hire for it, but here at Southwest, we call it a “Warrior Spirit.”  

So, Media Day is great, but that’s not why I think it is a big day.  It’s a big day to me and a lot of people here at Southwest because we are introducing our “green plane” today.  No, the paint isn’t green, (though there is a decal) and you probably can’t tell much difference on the interior, but our Green Plane is a “test lab” of eco-friendly products that we are evaluating.  What makes this so innovative is that we hope to be able to reduce the weight of the aircraft by up to five pounds per seat, saving fuel and reducing emissions while being good environmental stewards.  Yes, environmental decisions can also make good business sense!  And, we are the first airline to do something like this.  

Southwest has designated one aircraft, WN222, to serve as a test for these eco-friendly products and other future initiatives.  You can read all about the products we are testing in our press release.  We will have all sorts of information onboard about our environmental commitment and fun facts about Southwest.  The Green Plane will take its first flight tonight on a direct flight to Seattle, and will be in regular revenue service so we can evaluate normal wear and durability.  If you’re lucky enough to be on the Green Plane, expect a post-flight survey where we ask what you think and how we are doing.

The Green Plane (and having a future “test lab”) is a dream come true for the Southwest Green Team, and I am so in awe of our Maintenance and Engineering Team for being visionaries.  A huge shout out to our Marketing Team, who is trying to create a more comfortable ride for our Customers and helping us use eco-friendly products to do it.  Be on the lookout for the Green Plane coming to a city near you…

 

 

12 Comments
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For an airline that is supposedly green how come you don't recycle your soda and water cans? That's a lot of cans that should be recycled each day.
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They should think about replacing these 737's with Airbuses which would accomodate the same number of people, and be more green, also the Airbus is cheaper to maintain too.
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We at Southwest DO in fact recycle our aluminum cans! Also, in many stations you may notice Flight Attendants deplaning with black bags full of newspaper that we drop in the recycling bins in the airport terminals!
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Anonymous, I'm a SWA flight attendant, and I can assure you that almost all of the cans used on every SWA flight are recycled. We have a dedicated trash container in the aft galley of every aircraft for aluminum recycling, and that container is emptied in each of the provisioning stations an aircraft stops at each day. Southwest is also working on plans to recycle our plastic cups, and all the newspaper brought on board by Customers. Not only that, MANY of our Flight Attendants take time out of their day to collect newspaper from passengers, store it in their own personal space on the aircraft, and make sure to take it off the airplane themselves at the airports that recycle paper. Johann
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Whoever made the comment about Airbuses should check their sources. The Airbus A319 has the same number of seats, is 4,500 lbs heavier and burns 4% more fuel than the SWA 737-700. US DOT data says that 737-700 is 26% cheaper to maintain and IATA data says it's 39% cheaper ... Southwest could not offer those great low fares if it was not for its 737 airplanes!!
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Southwest has been recycling cans and papers for YEARS!!! Way to go SWA
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I think some of SWA really tries to recycle, but I have personally seen what they put in the recycle bin, goes directly into the garbage.
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Way to go SWA!! That environmentally friendly carpet not only looks WAY better than the usual stuff-with gaps and edges that make it looke like a bunch of throw rugs), but I read that installed with far less waste, has recycled content and is recycled at the end of its life. It's about time an airline began to think of the impact of their activities. KUDOS!
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Speaking of green airplanes, what ever happened to the one airplane that was silver? I have not seen that plane in some time.
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Silver One N629SW was painted canyon blue.
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Is it possible for individuals to share green ideas with your appropriate departments?
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Bravo for some big steps towards reducing use of fuel and committing to using more eco-friendly materials on the plane. Now, about those plastic drinking cups... Johann wrote: "Southwest is also working on plans to recycle our plastic cups" -- OK, that's better than sending them to a landfill, but why not go further and use cups of a non-plastic, biodegradable material? I work for a corporate law firm and we switched from plastic to corn-based cups about a year ago, so I know that it can be done!