Week 1 Discussion Question

· What is the Southwest Evolve “Green” Plane? From the outside, the Evolve Green Plane looks just like any other Southwest Boeing 737-700 aircraft. However, the interior boasts cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly products.

Why is Southwest testing a Green Plane? Southwest is proud to lead the aviation industry in environmental stewardship. Working with eco-friendly vendors, we are excited to test their forward-thinking products and expect these green products to not only help the environment, but also create a fuel and materials cost saving for Southwest.

Southwest Airlines has introduced a new sleek cabin experience to enhance Customer comfort, improve fleet efficiency, and give back to the environment. Dubbed Evolve: The New Southwest Interior, the cabin update utilizes durable and environmentally responsible products to reduce waste and create weight savings onboard the aircraft, while enhancing comfort for Customers. Inspired by Southwest’s past with a nod to the airline’s future, the cabin refresh features recyclable carpet, a brighter color-scheme, and a more durable, eco-friendly, and comfortable low-profile seat that weighs less than the current seat. The new interior design also provides the unique opportunity of greater revenue potential by increasing the number of seats onboard from 137 to 143, without sacrificing Customer comfort and personal space but, at the same time, increasing under-seat room for carry-on luggage. “We are preparing now for our next 40 years with a fleet modernization plan that includes the new interior, the Boeing 737-800 which is scheduled to come online beginning in March this year, and the 737 MAX, which is expected to join the Southwest fleet in 2017”, said Bob Jordan, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.  “The evolutionary changes we’re making with the new interior uphold our low-cost roots and historic focus on Customer Service. The cabin upgrade also allows us to create significant revenue opportunities without adding unwanted fees.” Beginning with a partnership between Southwest’s Maintenance and Engineering and Marketing Teams, Southwest set out to improve the inflight Customer Experience while increasing the durability of onboard materials, but without adding costs. In 2009, Southwest launched the Green Plane to test the market’s latest sustainable products onboard an aircraft in an effort to forge a new path in onboard eco-friendly products. Based on the inflight test results and feedback from Customers onboard the Green Plane, Southwest’s new Evolve interior features the E-Leather seat cover and many of the other products tested on the Green Plane including the carpet, life vest pouch, foam fill, and passenger seat rub strips. Southwest began retrofitting its current fleet of 372 Boeing -700s with the Evolve interior in March 2012, with completion in 2013.  As integration of AirTran Airways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest, moves forward, Southwest anticipates that AirTran’s Boeing -700s and 717s will also be retrofitted with the new cabin interior as those aircraft are converted into the Southwest brand over the next several years. Other Southwest fleet types are still being evaluated for a possible retrofit. The Evolution of the New Cabin Interior Improves Customer Experience and Preserves Personal Space With a continued focus on Customer comfort, Evolve: The New Southwest Interior retrofit enhances the Customer Experience: Modern Cabin Design: The new design incorporates natural, earthy tones combined with Southwest’s iconic Canyon blue and clean, aluminum accents for a more modern, fresh appeal. The redesign is inspired by Southwest’s past with a nod to the future. Lighter and More Comfortable Seat: The redesigned low-profile seat is more durable, made of eco-friendly products, is lighter, and more comfortable. Increased Under-Seat Space: The new design allows for more under-seat room for carry-on luggage and approved pet carriers. Customer Living Space: Reducing the recline from three inches to two inches preserves on board personal living space while still allowing for ample seat adjustment for Customer comfort. Seatback pockets: The new netted seatback pockets are streamlined to provide more knee room. Headrest: The fixed-wing headrest provides better neck and head alignment with side-to-side support for sleeping. Improved Ergonomics: The combination of the low-profile cushion and fixed wing headrest improves ergonomics by positioning Customers down and back into the seat, allowing for better lumbar support, armrest alignment, and increased personal living space. Southwest Introduces New Era of Cabin Sustainability Over the decades, Southwest has been at the forefront of such efficiencies as paperless tickets, quick aircraft turnarounds, and the installation of winglets onboard its aircraft. For more than 40 years, Southwest has been a Maverick in the airline industry, and the refreshed design is charting a new course for sustainable cabin interiors.

Complete your assigned reading and then watch the two videos below corresponding with this week’s discussion. Next, respond to the Discussion questions below.

Southwest Airlines Introduces New Era of Customer Comfort and Sustainability With Evolution of Cabin

Duration: (1:17) User: Justmeans – Added: 1/20/12

Southwest Evolve Customer Reaction

Duration: (2:13) User: Southwest Airlines – Added: 1/18/12


· Discussion Board WEEK 1 Discussion

Social Responsibility at Southwest 1. How is the introduction of the Green Plane a socially responsible act? 2. Which approach to social responsibility does Southwest take (obstructionist, defensive, accommodative, or proactive)? Explain why you think so. 3. Why should an organization be socially responsible?