Southwest goes green? You read that right—the low-cost carrier debuted a new plane designed to test eco-friendly products. The aircraft, which flies mostly between Boston and Chicago, has been outfitted with 100% recyclable carpet, manmade leather substitutes for the seats, and small changes designed to reduce the overall weight of the plane (meaning it uses less fuel). All in all, Southwest's changes have reduced the aircraft's weight by five pounds per seat.
The airline plans to continue testing new green initiative with this plane. Interested travelers can identify the green aircraft by a green recycling logo on the bow.
Of course, there's a money-saving angle here as well (it's Southwest, after all). The carpeting, for example, comes in tiles instead of rolls, meaning Southwest can replace worn areas independently instead of putting down entirely new carpet. This saves money on materials and labor, and is a quicker fix (time equals money, you know). The seat covers are more durable, and therefore should last longer.
Ideally, Southwest will prove that environmental awareness can intersect with good business practices, and more airlines will consider the products and methods Southwest is testing.
Do you have other ideas for simple ways airlines can make flights more eco-friendly?