Alaska Airlines is installing in most of its Boeing 737NG aircraft new Recaro seats like those in its new 737-900ERs, allowing the carrier to add more seats in each aircraft’s cabin while providing the same amount of personal space for each passenger in each aircraft as they have now.
The Recaro seats feature a personal space-enhancing design and each is equipped with a power outlet, according to Alaska Airlines.
The airline says it is also nearing a decision on an enhanced in-flight entertainment system that will allow customers to watch movies, television shows and other programming streamed to any Wi-Fi-enabled device.
Alaska Airlines expects to complete the $100 million project to upgrade the cabins in all of its Boeing 737-800, 737-900 and 737-900ER aircraft by the end of 2014. The first aircraft re-fitted with the new seats will return to service this fall, according to the airline.
“Passengers have responded very favorably to the innovative and comfortable Recaro seats on our 737-900ERs,” says Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “Two other features we know they want the most are power for their electronic devices and enhanced in-flight entertainment.”
Adds Sprague: “Upgrading our other Next Generation 737 aircraft with Recaro seats, along with adding seat power and an improved inflight entertainment system, will complement our award-winning personal service and make flying more enjoyable for our customers.”
Alaska Airlines became the North America launch customer for the main cabin Recaro seat when the carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 737-900ER in November 2012.
The airline says the seat’s slimmer design and location of the literature pocket at the top of the seatback enables Alaska to reconfigure its cabins while maintaining the same passenger comfort standards and personal space that its current seats offer. Alaska will add six more seats in each of its 737-800s and nine seats in each Boeing 737-900.
Alaska Airlines says it will be the only U.S. airline to provide power outlets at every seat on its equipped aircraft, which will include nearly three-quarters of the fleet. The outlets, supplying both 110-volt and USB power for tablets and smart phones, will be conveniently located on the seatback in front of each passenger.
The in-flight entertainment system under consideration will allow programming to be streamed wirelessly from a server onboard the aircraft to any Wi-Fi-enabled device, including passengers’ own laptops, tablets and smart phones as well as tablet computers provided in-flight by Alaska Airlines for a fee.
After Alaska reconfigures its aircraft, each 737-800 will accommodate 163 passengers, 16 in first class and 147 in the main cabin. Each Alaska Airlines 737-900 will accommodate 181 passengers, 16 in first class and 165 in the main cabin.
Its 737-900ERs, which are not being reconfigured with more seats because they already feature the slimline Recaro seats, also accommodate 16 passengers in first class and 165 in the main cabin.
Alaska Airlines says that after the cabin refits, its aircraft will continue to provide passengers with the current fleet standard seat pitch of 31 to 32 inches and three inches of recline.