Southwest Airlines has revealed plans to completely overhaul its cabins starting in early 2025. This is the second passenger experience improvement the airline has announced in the past couple of years.
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Southwest partners with RECARO on new seats
As of early 2025, Southwest intends to introduce all-new cabin interiors for newly delivered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which will include new seats from RECARO. The RECARO seats will have a multi-adjustable headrest cushion, a personal electronic device holder, and power outlets.
Southwest states that the new design is based on extensive research covering customer and employee perceptions of color, comfort, and their aspirations for the overall onboard experience. The airline claims that the new design brings to life Southwest’s warm energy with deep blue tones, sky blue accents, and a nod to the Southwest Heart woven throughout the carpet.
I mean, it’s hard to get too excited about a new economy cabin that doesn’t even have personal televisions, but I do have to say that the cabin looks quite nice in terms of the little design details, like the stitching on the seats, the different tones of blue on the headrest, the pattern on the carpet, etc.
Here’s how Tony Roach, Southwest’s Chief Customer Officer, describes the new cabins:
“Southwest flies above our competition with industry-leading flexibility and our legendary Hospitality. Our redesigned cabin interior significantly enhances our inflight Customer experience and will complement the amazing service that our Crews provide.”
RECARO is known for its very slim and lightweight seats, which are of course great for airline economics, and perhaps a bit less great for passenger comfort.
Southwest is known for having pretty comfortable cabins. As a standard, the airline has 32″ of pitch in economy, and has 175 seats on its 737-800s and 737 MAX 8s. Interestingly despite the lighter seats, Southwest intends to maintain the same layout it currently has, so you can expect these new jets to also feature 175 seats. So that’s great news, at least.
What about existing Southwest aircraft?
There are no firm plans to retrofit existing aircraft with these new interiors. However, Southwest is currently working on retrofitting 737-800s and 737 MAX 8s with USB-A and USB-C outlets, as well as larger overhead bins. This is a project that was first announced in May 2022, and it’s expected that it will take several more years to complete.
Unfortunately this is going at a snail’s pace, which I suppose isn’t too surprising, when you consider Southwest’s ongoing issues with taking delivery of new aircraft, due to delays in Boeing 737 MAX 7 certification.
As of early 2025, Southwest Airlines is introducing new cabin interiors on its newly delivered Boeing 737 MAXs. The airline will have a new cabin design, as well as new seats from RECARO. The cabin finishes do look like a nice improvement. I’m pleasantly surprised that the airline isn’t planning on adding more seats to its jets as these interiors are introduced. That’s good news for customers.
What do you make of Southwest’s new planned cabin interiors?