This morning Alaska announced a $100 million dollar project whereby they’ll be overhauling their Boeing 737-800 and 737-900 aircraft by the end of 2014.
The great news is that they’ll be installing power ports on their planes, something they seemed to be pretty heavily opposed to in the past (in trying to keep the weight of their aircraft as low as possible). This is huge, given that they have a ton of transcon and Hawaii service nowadays, and very few laptops can last for that long, not even taking into account that laptops may already be drained from connecting flights.
I’ve actually wanted to do some transcon same day turn mileage runs with Alaska, though their lack of power ports has prevented me from doing so. I can justify flying all day if I can still be productive while in the sky, though if my laptop dies halfway through the outbound flight and I’m without my laptop for the entire return flight, I just can’t justify a trip like that no matter how good the fare is.
The good or bad news, depending on how you look at it, is that they’ll be installing slimline Recaro seats. These are the same seats that airlines like Lufthansa have on much of their fleet, and they’re definitely slimmer, and as a result a lot less padded than the seats many of us are used to. Given that these seats are slimmer, Alaska will be adding six seats to their 737-800s and nine seats to their 737-900s.
Anyway, on the whole the power ports are a huge win, so I’m quite happy about this announcement.