April 14, 2015 – In a fitting tribute to becoming launch customer of the Boeing 737 MAX, Southwest Airlines is also set to be the launch customer for a new economy seat, which will also be installed in its future Boeing 737-800 deliveries. Beginning mid-2016, passengers on on Southwest’s newly delivered Boeing 737-800s, will be sitting on a new seat from B/E Aerospace, which the airline says is lighter than the model it replaces. The seats will also include an adjustable headrest and increased legroom, as well as more personal stowage.
“The new aircraft seats are the widest economy seats available in the single-aisle B737 market, and offer a unique design that gives our customers what they asked for: more space,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest’s EVP and CCO. “Serving as the launch customer for this seat is just one of several upcoming milestones related to our bold, new look launched in September of last year, and is specifically aimed at enhancing our customer experience.”
The company’s ongoing fleet modernization effort also includes cabin interior updates on its B737-700s, work on which will begin later this year, the transition of AirTran’s B717-200 aircraft out of the fleet, the replacement of Boeing Classic aircraft with Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and the projected launch of the 737 MAX aircraft in 2017.
The seats are the first element of the 737 MAX aircraft interior to be released by Boeing and Southwest to the public. The Southwest seat color – a variant of Southwest’s Bold Blue –has been chosen, and the seats will be upholstered with eLeather, a composition leather made of natural leather fibers. eLeather, which made its debut on Southwest aircraft in 2012, is manufactured using eco-friendly technology including state-of-the-art techniques which closed-loop recycles 95% of the processed water, and converts its own waste streams into energy feeding back into the process.