Photos: Southwest’s First Boeing 737-800 Wows Employees
While the airplane is painted in the carrier’s standard Canyon Blue scheme, a trained spotter will quickly note the longer fuselage of the 737-800 when compared against the carrier’s shorter and ubiquitous 737-700 jets. Registered N8301J, according to the airline, the new plane is named Warrior One in honor of the warrior spirit of Southwest employees.
The 737-800 aircraft is the first in the Southwest fleet to offer the Boeing Sky Interior, which features larger windows, higher ceilings, LED lighting, wider overhead bins and a number of other features originally designed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
In addition, the new plane utilizes the airline’s newly revamped cabin design, known as Evolve. First reported by NYCAviation in January, Evolve is focused on improvements in sustainability and passenger comfort, such as a fresher color palate and lighter seat frames. Southwest expects to update 10 more aircraft with Evolve by the end of April, and 380 by this time next year.
“Not only is this is a beautiful aircraft, but it will also play an important strategic role in our future. The -800 aircraft carries 175 passengers, a close to 30 percent increase than our current fleet, which will improve our unit costs per flight,” said Southwest’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven. “Additionally, it complements our existing fleet with opportunities for longer-haul flying and schedule flexibility by allowing additional capacity in high-demand, slot controlled or gate-restricted airports.”
The new 737-800 will compliment an existing fleet of 737-300, -500, and -700 aircraft. Southwest expects to receive 33 of the ETOPS-rated 737-800 aircraft from Boeing in 2012.
Warrior One will officially be placed into revenue service on April 11th, but could actually make a few runs before that.
A Southwest Airlines employee directs the Boeing 737-800 to its parking spot for the event. (Photo by Tad Carlson)