Southwest Airlines is bringing the next generation of wider and lighter seats to commercial airline market by mid-2016. The Dallas-based airline unveiled these new “Bold Blue” seats today at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
These seats, which are designed by B/E Aerospace, will be installed in all of the new Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX aircraft. Southwest has the largest fleet of 737s in the world, so expect to see these seats everywhere.
“The new aircraft seats are the widest economy seats available in the single-aisle 737 market, and offer a unique design that gives our Customers what they asked for: more space,” Southwest’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Bob Jordan said in a statement.
Sky Talk reports that the news seats are 0.7 inches wider than current models, which may not seem like much but is a actually a significant improvement. Current Southwest seats are about 17 inches wide and some of the narrowest seats in the business. Air Canada is known for having the widest seats out there, boasting a whopping 18.5 inches of space.
The new seat’s features include an adjustable headrest, “enhanced cushion comfort,” and a raised information pocket for more legroom. To upholster the seats, the airline is using an eco-friendly material called eLeather: a composite of leather and natural leather fibers. Because of its light construction, the new design will also help improve the aircraft’s fuel efficiency.
The new seating is the first in a series of upgrades that Southwest has planned for their aircraft interiors. Other cabin improvements are to be announced later this year.
As Southwest takes on more 737s, the airline says that it will start to retire some of its older 717-200. Boeing’s 737 MAX will replace the 717s in 2017 as the aircraft becomes more widely produced.