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Destination RNP!

Explorer C

Southwest Airlines recently hit a milestone in our quest to fly more efficiently and greener by successfully implementing autothrottles and VNAV (vertical navigation) modifications to our entire 737-700 fleet. Now, if you don’t understand what that sentence means--don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The important message is that this milestone will help save the Company millions of dollars in fuel burn, while at the same time significantly reducing our carbon emissions. In fact, since the modifications began, we have seen very tangible benefits.


You may be wondering how the modifications help us save so much “green.” Simply stated…the modifications allow our Pilots to fly at a nearly perfect speed when at cruise altitude and gives them an enhanced level of precision during climbs and descents. Our Maintenance group has been working alongside our Flight Operations Department on the project for more than two years to make this happen--we are very proud of their tireless work.


And, this is merely the tip of the iceberg.  Soon, our nearly 6,000 Pilots will receive additional training as we prepare to begin GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) navigation. This will be followed by RNAV (area navigation), and ultimately RNP (Required Navigation Performance) procedures.


As the automation evolution continues, the best is yet to come!

Explorer C
Wow, autothrottle on SWA, never thought it would happen. The prevailing attitude as of a few years ago is that once you stop manipulating the throttle (aka start using autothrottle) you're no longer as in tune with the aircraft as you would be if you were manipulating the throttle. I always made the argument that you could save tons of fuel (think of autothrottle as "cruise control") with a/t, however all the pilots I spoke to gave me the same "you're not really flying the plane" line. Guess things changed with fuel prices soaring! 🙂
Explorer C
My disappointment with Southwest Airlines grows. Not till I got to Midway was I able to become age-verified--a special obstacle this airlines put in place for us seniors. THEN I flew to Portland wedged between two porker men in the back and smallest seat in the airplane--had to as it was the absolute last seat. Bitterly hilarious. Now I find that when I try to fly home to Illinois, once again I need to be age-verified (whether because the folks at Midway failed to do so or it is going to be a recurrent headache, I don't know--both are bad). Once again, I can look forward to a miserable flight with Southwest whose cheapness is diluted with discomfort--real discomfort on a long flight--for both my wife and me.
Explorer C
Hey Jeff! This is exciting. Why did SWA do this with other aircraft and only the 700's? Thanks! David
Aviator C
JJH I am sorry for your disappointment. You can age verify at once, and be done with it for all future trips. Check out this page and go to the "Checking In For Your Flight."
Explorer C
or, JJH, you could alway purchase a regular fare and not have to worry about having to be age verified. I always wished SWA would assign boarding position by fare paid. The higher the fare paid, the higher your boarding position, etc.