Usually when airlines introduce new seats nowadays, it’s bad news for customers. Airlines try to spin the new seats as being good for the environment, as they’re lightweight and have little legroom.
With that in mind, Spirit Airlines has announced that it’s introducing new seats today, and I’m… actually kind of impressed?
Of course it’s important to remember we’re talking about Spirit Airlines here — people generally choose to fly with the airline because of low fares, rather than because of comfortable seats or amazing service. Nonetheless, Spirit has introduced some new seats that seem materially more comfortable than what the airline currently offers, and that’s to be commended.
In this post:
Details of Spirit Airlines’ new seats
Spirit Airlines has unveiled new, more comfortable seats, that offer better padding and more seat width. The new seats are manufactured by HAECO, and specifically are the Vector Light product for economy, and the Vector Premium product for the Big Front Seat.
These redesigned interiors will start to be installed on aircraft starting in late January 2023. It’s expected that 33 new Airbus A320 family aircraft will be delivered throughout 2023 with these interiors.
Interestingly Spirit Airlines already refreshed its cabin interiors in 2019, so these changes are intended to further build on that, after hearing customer feedback.
Spirit Airlines’ new economy seats
Spirit Airlines’ new economy seats have a few key features:
- The seats are half an inch wider, as the aisle and window seat will be 17.5″ wide, while the middle seat will be 18.5″ wide; this is being done by unlocking previously unused space with a design that fits closer to the wall of the aircraft, and it won’t impact the space in the aisle
- The seats have a curved seatback design, which unlocks additional space at knee level; Spirit claims that this additional space amounts to roughly two more inches of knee space compared to flatback seats on legacy airlines with the same pitch
- The seats have more cushioning and newly added headrests
Below are some pictures of the new economy seats.
For context, below are what the economy seats that were introduced in 2019 look like.
Spirit Airlines’ new Big Front Seats
Spirit Airlines is also introducing new Big Front Seats, which is one of the best values in travel. Big Front Seats get you the same service you’d get in the main cabin, but you get a significantly more comfortable seat. Spirit Airlines’ new Big Front Seats have a few key features:
- The seats have more cushioning
- The seats have an additional inch of pre-recline
- The seats have easier to reach tray tables
- The seats have wide seatbacks
Below are some pictures of the new Big Front Seats.
For context, below are what the Big Front Seats that were introduced in 2019 look like.
Spirit Airlines’ new seats are lighter
Okay, so there is a (slight) environmental element to this announcement. Spirit Airlines claims that each seat weighs nearly 11 ounces less than the previous seat, despite having more features. This is due to advances in seat frame technology. That might not sound like a lot, but when you consider the size of Spirit’s network, it adds up.
These seats look great, and Spirit Airlines is awesome
Of course it’s important to keep in mind that Spirit Airlines is an ultra low cost carrier, so the airline isn’t going to have some revolutionary inflight product. But I don’t think any of us were expecting Spirit to introduce the $9Suite (Spirit’s version of Qsuites, natch!). That being said, based on what I’ve seen, this looks like a genuine improvement over the old product, and I do believe that it’s driven by guest feedback.
In economy, an extra half inch of width, plus better cushioning and headrests, are great news. For the Big Front Seat, you can tell just by looking at the seat that it appears more comfortable than the old product.
Among US ultra low cost carriers, personally I have a strong preference for Spirit Airlines over Frontier Airlines. Not only is Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat an amazing deal, but the airline has also rolled out high speed Wi-Fi throughout most of its fleet.
Flying Spirit can be very pleasant, and the airline manages to do all that while having low fares. If JetBlue’s takeover of Spirit is approved, it’ll be sad when Spirit’s product disappears.
Spirit Airlines is introducing new seats as of 2023, and they seem like a genuine improvement over the old seats. They’ll be wider, will have better cushioning, and we’ll also see the return of headrests. Well done, Spirit Airlines!
What do you make of Spirit’s new seats?