In late May, we wrote about the new interior that would start appearing in Southwest Airlines fleet of -800 series aircraft. The new interior is currently featured in just three airplanes so far, and I was pretty excited on Sunday to have the airplane known as N8689C at gate A-4 at Baltimore Washington International Airport to take me to Las Vegas. I had a feeling that it would have the new interior … and taadaa! Despite having a relatively good boarding card, I went towards the back of the plane to be able to take pictures. The interior itself is very blue. Very very blue – the carpet, the seats, the seatbelts, and I think that the blue seemed even more vivid because the sidewalls were very white.
As for the seats themselves – I loved the adjustable headrests – both the feature of them being raised and lowered, and the wings that support your head for napping. The armrest was impossibly thin – so forget sharing it with a stranger. While the seats are thin, and maybe even a little bit on the hard side, somehow the pitch seemed longer than on other Southwest Airlines 700s and 800s. I also really liked the design of the seatback – the magazine, safety information card, beverage menu and barf bag were all contained in the top portion of the seatback, while the lower portion had a handy mesh pouch – perfect for an ipad and a bottle of water.Another interesting feature of the seats is that they seemed to sit lower, and with the higher head rests, there seemed to be more privacy, and fewer heads popping up over the seat backs.The two lavatories in the aft portion of the aircraft were cool as well. Southwest did away with the silly bi-fold door, and installed the more typical swing-out door. They also seemed to slim-line the lavatory as well. The lighting in the lav was neon, and cool, and the three mirrors in the lavatory made it seem larger, but I could swear that the lav was smaller.I was able to snap a picture of the galley in the back, which is located behind the lavatories, and it seemed spacious, clean and modern as well.Another enhancement was the flight tracking software. It seems like they gave the impossibly large plane a new paint job, and added in lines to show where the flight has been, and where the flight is going.
My flight between BWI-LAS was typical Southwest – the service was upbeat, friendly, and efficient. There were plenty of soft drinks, juices, water and snacks offered throughout the flight, and I thought it was a nice touch to have the crew come thru the cabin with trays of coffee and water during the last hour of the flight. If there was one thing that I wish could change with the new interior is the lack of USB charging/power ports. I know it adds wiring, weight, and maintenance, but it seems like it would have been worth the investment.