Alaska adding power ports and more seats to most of their aircraft by 2014

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.


Alaska’s new slimline seats


Alaska’s new slimline seats

Comments

  1. I flew AS recently and thought their seats were the most uncomfortable ever. No padding at all, so I can’t think there would be much worse.

    Americans recaro seats don’t seem that bad, except for first class. While I like the function of the newer F seats ( laptop storage, extra table,etc.), I’ll take the older style F (737, MD-80) any day. The new ones just are not good for longer flights.

  2. Meh. On the whole, I think this is bad news.

    I find Alaska’s existing coach seats surprisingly roomy and comfortable.

    On the other hand, my last Lufthansa coach flight (which I *think* featured these seats) was utterly miserable for several reasons, one of which was that the seats were stunningly cramped, and very uncomfortable.

    They’re adding 6 or 9 seats you say, depending on the model. is that seats, or ROWS? I can imagine squeezing in one more row (6 across). How exactly would they add 9 seats – 1.5 rows?

  3. @Brian – were you perhaps on one of their newly outfitted planes? I’ve always found Alaska’s coach seats to be among the most roomy and comfortable of any.

  4. @ Bontemps — I suspect they may be adding a closet or something on one side, so there’s an extra row on one side of the plane but not the other.

  5. Sounds super uncomfortable. When I first started flying on business, the Coach product was much like today’s Business Class product. (Yes, I’m that old.) Flying was a pleasure.

    Since the 1980s, though, it has become progressively worse, especially for the Coach customers. I seriously believe that if the airlines keep on devaluing the Coach experience, more and more people will avoid flying unless there is absolutely no other way to arrive at their destination. Add to that the TSA theater, and it is no longer pleasurable to travel by air. Well, unless one can afford the premium class of seats.

    Airlines may eventually discover, as have the Las Vegas casinos, that it is the penny slot players that fund the operation. They could be shooting themselves in the foot here.

  6. AS had some of the worst seats in coach i have ever flown in. i hope they are not worst!! yikes

  7. Sure you can buy external battery for Airs just google it and read the revews. I doubt you will find a good one under $100 but in your case might be worth the cost

  8. Are they giving some additional pitch back to the customer, or keeping the same pitch with the new slimline seats?

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