Southwest Airlines unveiled its new lighter weight, slim-lined seat today at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. The seat, designed by B/E Aerospace, will first be used in 737-800s beginning mid-2016, and then in the 737 MAX starting in 2017.Southwest Airlines says its industry-leading seats will be wider, and include an adjustable headrest and increased legroom, as well as more personal stowage, and increased seat bottom cushioning while decreasing the overall weight of the product. The blue seats will be upholstered with eLeather, a composition leather made of natural leather fibers. The product also features thinner armrests that make the seats wider than the current seats. The seat backs will feature a raised information pocket for literature and safety information cards, while the netted area below will leave more space for personal device usage and storage.Southwest Airlines says that sample seats will be available for customers to try out later this fall. Southwest posted this video today to promote its new seats.
These seats seem like an enhancement over the current seats that have too little padding, and seat bottom cushions that don’t fit the frame of the seat. A few things are noticeably absent from the announcement: adding power ports or USB chargers into the new seat back AND the new seats don’t seem to have a button to push to recline the seat. It seems like if Southwest Airlines is going to continue to promote longer haul and international flying they really need to rethink these items that would increase customer comfort. What do you think?