Southwest To Make Guinea Pigs Out Of Passengers, All In The Name Of The Environment

We've heard of test pilots, but Southwest Airlines is offering the chance to be a test passenger.

The airline is introducing a new "Green Plane," one where the materials used on a lot of things are lighter, resulting in a plane that uses less fuel to fly.

If it works.

One aircraft will be outfitted with new rugs and two new types of seat covers that save two pounds per seat, the airline says.

There's also this:

Life Vest Pouch -- more environmentally friendly because it offers a weight savings of one pound per passenger, replacing the current metal container with lighter durable canvas. The smaller pouch also creates more room under the seat for carryon items and offers productivity improvements due to design change.

When we're flailing helplessly in the Gulf of Mexico after going down on a Southwest flight, we're not sure we're going to be too worried about how "environmentally friendly" our life vest is. Give us the metal, not the "durable canvas," thanks.

Not to worry, the airline says. "Southwest is proud to lead the aviation industry in environmental stewardship and honored to be working with these eco-friendly vendors and our partners at Boeing," Kelly says. "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."

"Test their forward-thinking products"? The word "test" implies the possibility of failure. What if the fancy new foam that's incredibly light doesn't quite deliver on its promise of being just as comfortable as Southwest's current seats, which ain't all that comfortable to begin with?

It's your tough luck, guinea pig.

"This focus on efficiency not only makes good business sense, it is the right thing to do," the airline announced today.

Just keep your fingers crossed about those life vests.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.