Southwest Airlines recently announced two exciting news items that could affect your travel on the carrier. The first bit of news is about Cuba. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently approved Southwest Airlines to service Havana with daily nonstop service from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa. Additionally, the carrier will launch service to Varadero and Santa Clara, Cuba later this year.

Southwest Airlines also announced the addition of new Boeing 737 MAX 8’s to its fleet. The new planes will enter the fleet in early 2017 and will have the capability to fly 300 to 500 miles further than current 737’s while using less fuel. The extended range will allow the carrier better options for trans-continental flights. The MAX 8 requires less maintenance, produces less noise and emissions than any engine in their fleet.

The new aircraft also includes a new “heart” cabin decor with galley spaces designed with the input of Southwest’s flight attendants. The new design resolves issues that Southwest has had with the 737 which did not have enough room in the galley for beverage carts. The only downside this writer noticed was the overhead storage bins now mirror those of other aircraft, featuring a drop down storage area. This will decrease the amount and size of carry-on luggage. We’re going to predict here and now that sales of Early Bird boarding will increase dramatically.

Click here to find out more about Southwest Airline’s changes and updates