Southwest Airlines New Seats Revealed!

Last night Southwest teased the announcement of new seats. And as I expected they’ve gone with B/E Aerospace.

The seats were unveiled at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg and beginning mid- next year they’ll be featured on new Southwest 737-800 deliveries. Key features:

  • Adjustable headrest
  • ‘Widest’ 737 seat in the market (based on cabin width, Airbus aircraft generally have wider seats than Boeings)
  • ‘Enhanced’ cushion comfort (it’s not the barely-padded slimline!)
  • ‘Sleek’ cover design in ‘eLeather’ (this new term frightens me)

The B/E seats are certainly capable of more than Southwest is doing with them, sadly. However for customers things could be a lot worse!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The 737-800’s already have the most comfortable seats in Southwest’s fleet, due to greater (almost normal) seat pitch. It’s the other aircraft whose atrocious seating needs to be improved.

  2. The term “e-leather” me made me cringe, also, as I believed (wrongly) it to be bonded leather, which is made of leather fibers that are glued to a sub-surface. After a year or less the fibers rub off and leave the underlying textile surface bare. It’s the stuff from which cheap residential furniture is made.

    However, it appears from the e-leather corporate site (UK corporation that the product is specifically designed for commercial application for train, bus, and aviation, and it is not bonded, but has undergone a patented process which weaves the leather fibers together to make an incredibly durable product designed for the transportation industry.

  3. @BoogerRed if you take 30 seconds to read my post and that of the eLeather corp site you’ll see the material is, in fact, real leather fibers and it is not “pleather / plastic leather” at all. The material is specifically designed for high usage in the transportation industry.

  4. Greg – Southwest is not a bus service!! I find their service as good as any of the legacies, and Companion Pass plus flexibility to change plans without onerous penalties are unbeatable benefits. (I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, but I happily book Southwest for most of my domestic personal travel.)

  5. I have flown in Europe on a couple of aircraft (Austrian Airlines and Swiss) that had this type of seats installed and they were ok for the short flights I took. Surprisingly comfortable given how thin the padding is.

  6. Southwest. Fly it once a month. Can only refer to it as the “fat airline “. Don’t know why, but it just is.

  7. Their old seats are much more comfortable. Be careful with the window seat as well as it is narrower than the aisle or middle. I am 6′ 2″ and can not sit straight up in the new window seat. I guess I will be looking for a new airline soon if they convert everything to these new crappy seats.

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