Southwest Relaxes Cell Phone Use Policy; Airline Adds Convenience of Cell Phone Use During Taxi to Gate for Customers
Customers on Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) have a bit more freedom "to talk about the country" with new cell phone use rules that go into effect nationwide today.
Effective today, Southwest Customers with cell phones onboard may begin using them after the flight attendant gives permission to do so upon landing at the destination and taxi to the airport gate.
"This flexibility is just one more way Southwest is showing its Customers it is the convenient, affordable, Customer-friendly choice," said Colleen Barrett, Southwest's president and chief operating officer.
Previously on Southwest, Customers could use their phones onboard upon boarding, but only until the aircraft doors closed. Then, all cell phone power had to be turned off until the aircraft was secured at the gate in the arrival city. Now, instead of waiting until an arriving aircraft is parked at the gate and the door is opened, Customers will be able to use their cell phones upon arrival in a city, while the aircraft is taxiing to the arrival gate. Flight attendants onboard will make announcements to let Customers know when it is OK to begin using a cell phone or pager.
"We realize that every minute can be precious to a business traveler," Barrett said. "Thus, this new procedure will give them added flexibility, even on our shortest flights."
Southwest conducted the required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) testing to ensure that cell phones did not interfere with ground navigation equipment during taxi. Its test results showed no avionics nor ground test anomalies.
Southwest Airlines, the fourth largest domestic carrier in terms of Customers boarded, currently serves 59 airports in 58 cities in 30 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates nearly 2,800 flights a day with a fleet of 387 Boeing 737s with an average age of nine years -- one of the youngest pure jet fleets in the domestic airline industry.
SOURCE Southwest Airlines