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Southwest Airlines reveals seats for new aircraft

Southwest Airlines is showing off the newest seats planned for its fleet – and doubling down on efforts to dispel previous criticism that they are too flimsy.

Appearing alongside seat maker Recaro, the Dallas-based airline unveiled the new seats Tuesday at the Aircraft Interiors Show in Hamburg, Germany.


Seating feature

The carrier said the seats are new, decorated in navy blue and signed Southwest The heart logo on each headrest is a marked improvement over what customers currently see on the airline’s Boeing 737s.


Scheduled for new aircraft deliveries starting in 2025, these seats certainly have some distinct upgrades over Southwest’s existing ones.

Recaro customized both the headrest and armrest specifically for Southwest, providing a longer armrest and a headrest that passengers can fold out to support their necks – or slide up or down for comfort.

Where to sit: Everything you need to know about the best seats on Southwest Airlines


On the back of the seat, you’ll find both USB-A and USB-C charging ports, along with a sizable personal device compartment and a tray table with two cupholders.

“Ten percent of the world is left-handed,” Bill Tierney, Southwest’s vice president of customer and digital experience, advised at Tuesday’s launch.

“Every part of the design is intended to help ease your movement, keep your neck comfortable, and you can work efficiently with your devices,” Tierney continues. . and function.

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Refreshed larger cabin

In fact, this seat reveal is just one step in a larger cabin refresh Southwest is planning for its new aircraft, which will see the jets launch with many cosmetic upgrades compared to their current aircraft, TPG reports in February when the carrier first announced the changes.

But the seat design renderings that Southwest shared at the time were not without backlash — specifically concerns about how thin they looked in mockups; it helped reignite a decades-old debate about legroom, seat height and width on commercial aircraft.

Pictures of the new seats were shared in February. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

Ultimately, those design renderings are not an accurate representation of the chair itself, Christopher Parker, Southwest’s executive director of in-flight experience and customer voice, spoke to TPG today. Tuesday.

“There was a lot of news when it was announced about it being a ‘thin chair’. This is not a flimsy chair,” Parker said, noting that the company has undergone extensive testing with employees and customers who have concluded that these chairs are most of Comfortable among the review carriers.


“When we went through the process of adding the actual seat cushion, we actually added than cushion,” he said. “None of this is intended to create a thinner seat for the purpose of increasing cabin density.”

The carrier has also gone to great lengths to test ergonomic features to make seating as comfortable as possible, Tierney added. I definitely noticed those factors and improved back comfort when I briefly tried the sit at the launch.


Of course, the ultimate test of these seats will be how they perform over time – and during a multi-hour flight.

But Recaro CEO Mark Hiller, who is in charge of seat production, was confident on Tuesday.

“We are certain that our product… is a great addition to the Southwest fleet,” he said.

Plan to integrate into the fleet

It’s worth noting that Southwest will not be retrofitting its existing aircraft with additional seats or new designs. The new aircraft it receives in 2024 will also not be renewed.

They’ve got new deliveries scheduled starting next year – although carrier delivery schedules still vary a lot amid troubles at Boeing.

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