If you fly budget airlines, you may think of Southwest as the granddaddy of them all. But the carrier’s new additions are bringing a new image and new routes, especially south of the border.
This week, the airline unveiled its new five-gate terminal in Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, according to Fortune. In addition to some short domestic flights, the $146 million international terminal will primarily service Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rico at first, and could soon be available for other overseas locales south of the U.S.
Southwest is adding more short flights and plans to add new U.S. to Cuba flights. With jet fuel prices declining, short flights are again becoming economical for airlines, according to company executives.
Along with fare cuts, Southwest’s image makeover includes the first redesign of its flight attendant uniforms in twenty years, improved on-board internet service, and a new drink menu with beer and twenty kinds of cocktails available for $5. New economy class seats are expected to be thinner, lighter and roomier.
Houston is one of the three original Southwest hubs, and the company expects to make international flights a priority for the foreseeable future.