Southwest Airlines Unveils New Seats & Cabins

Southwest Airlines Unveils New Seats & Cabins

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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.

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.

New Southwest Airlines cabin interiors

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.

New Southwest Airlines cabin interiors

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.

Current Southwest Airlines cabin interiors

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (28)
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  1. Wade Thruitt Guest

    A long dead Herb Kelleher could have made a better decision, regarding seating, than Southwest's current leadership. Great fan of Southwest Airlines, until now.

  2. Kalina Guest

    Spending money on things but not their most valuable assets - their flight attendants - come on and show your cabin crew some love ❤️

  3. Joe Guest

    I'm fine with the way seats are allocated.... As long as no saving seats are allowed.

  4. Tony N Guest

    Don't care what the seat looks like. They need to have assigned seating so you can't selfishly grab any seat..

  5. Maurice Guest

    Southwest is a solid product with no frills, but I would like them to expedite charging outlets. Anytime they offer nonstop service with high frequency, and I can utilize my companion pass with same day change, I will continue to prefer them to the other big 3 for economy flights under 3 hours by avoiding an unnecessary connection. They offer the most point to point flying for in the West at a much better value...

    Southwest is a solid product with no frills, but I would like them to expedite charging outlets. Anytime they offer nonstop service with high frequency, and I can utilize my companion pass with same day change, I will continue to prefer them to the other big 3 for economy flights under 3 hours by avoiding an unnecessary connection. They offer the most point to point flying for in the West at a much better value proposition than Alaska, so any improvements are appreciated.

  6. RF Diamond

    Recaro seats are slim to the extreme. They don't have enough cushioning.

  7. Joe Guest

    They should bring back more non stop flights to Florida and improve their services first . Worry about their seat comfort after they fix their services

  8. JF Guest

    The device holder is useless for most people unless it moves closer to the passenger, but it looks stationary. Too far away to do anything comfortable on the touch screen.

    1. Jason G. Guest

      Too far away? Since when is anything in economy seating too far away?

  9. Joe C Guest

    Last time WN revised their cabins the seat had little padding to reduce weight. The seats were so uncomfortable WN eventually replaced them. I don’t fly as much as in the past but I hope WN does not repeat its mistakes

  10. Patrick O'Neal Guest

    They’re talking about the service instead of the product. Bad sign. And the seats look like low cost seats.

  11. Gene Guest

    And yet they still do not know how to assign a seat.

  12. Adrian Guest

    Honestly we all know what Southwest is, but I am happy that they are finally installing power ports that are actually useful! I hesitate to book Southwest on long flights because of the power port issues. After all these years, Southwest is actually getting more "premium" with a comfortable cabin, complimentary (non-alcoholic) drinks & snacks, and a very consistent cabin experience.

  13. WikiWiki Guest

    I really like economy cabins without TVs- I dislike having constantly flashing light and movement in my peripheral vision, especially since almost no one turns them off when they aren’t using them. I’d much rather just bring my own preloaded tablet.

  14. FlyerDon Guest

    Just make sure they bolt them down.

  15. ORD_Is_My_Second_Home Member

    I flew on WN for the first time in a long while Tuesday and yesterday, all four cycles on MAX 8s. Surprisingly comfortable already (as someone who's been spoiled leg-room-wise on UA MAX 8s in Economy Plus). The improvements should improve things thanks to that little bit more legroom due to the thinness of the RECAROs. They seem to be doing it right. IFEs are overrated.

  16. ben Guest

    Max jets seats come with a parachute

  17. LonglegsShortbody Guest

    I flew on a Max 8 recently with the new seats and they were very comfortable. They have a thinner back which actually gave me more leg room. More comfort overall.

  18. mjonis Guest

    Great, those new seats look even less comfortable than the Devolve seats (which I find extremely uncomfortable).

    1. Michael Guest

      I find that hard to believe. The Devolve seats (-700 series) are the most miserable airline seats I've ever sat in. That fixed winged headrest is at my shoulder level, which makes a great deal of shoulder and back pain from having my shoulders shoved forward. The seats from Soviet-era Yak-40s and Tu-154s are more pleasant to sit in.

  19. splane21 New Member

    I honestly don't mind if SW needs to decrease legroom to add anothor extra row of seats. Tbh they are known as being a low-cost airline and I don't think anyone chooses them for having an extra inch of legroom (I'll choose a legacy airline with less legroom over SW if around same price range).

    If they can even go down to 28" of pitch - with some extra legroom seats for business travelers...

    I honestly don't mind if SW needs to decrease legroom to add anothor extra row of seats. Tbh they are known as being a low-cost airline and I don't think anyone chooses them for having an extra inch of legroom (I'll choose a legacy airline with less legroom over SW if around same price range).

    If they can even go down to 28" of pitch - with some extra legroom seats for business travelers while offering free bags and changes they might retain the same amount of popularity with the leisure crowd

  20. Jordan Guest

    I presume they won't be adding seating capacity. They've been clear that they're aiming for 150 seats on their MAX 7 aircraft, using current meridian seating, configuration, and pitch. I'd assume they don't plan on changing that and requiring a fourth FA. It wouldn't make much sense to have 32–33 inches of pitch on the MAX 7s and then have less pitch on the -800s and MAX 8s. Furthermore, I'd imagine it'd be a logistical...

    I presume they won't be adding seating capacity. They've been clear that they're aiming for 150 seats on their MAX 7 aircraft, using current meridian seating, configuration, and pitch. I'd assume they don't plan on changing that and requiring a fourth FA. It wouldn't make much sense to have 32–33 inches of pitch on the MAX 7s and then have less pitch on the -800s and MAX 8s. Furthermore, I'd imagine it'd be a logistical nightmare to have a subfleet of -800s and MAX 8s with higher seating capacity alongside older -800s and MAX 8s that haven't been retrofitted—especially since SWA likes to swap airplanes at a moment's notice and have most of the fleet being interchangable. However, you do raise a fair point that they seemingly haven't mentioned it specifically, so who knows, maybe they are considering it. An Alaska Air friend of mine said it's possible to add another row of seats with the new recaro seat models.

  21. GrownAdult Guest

    Welp, there goes the space in the footwells because now there will be big power boxes down there since most adults aren't capable of carrying a $20 power bank to charge their electronic devices while traveling.

  22. sharon Guest

    Southwest has a massive fleet, so not increasing my expectations at all. Southwest might need to add an extra 6 seats to their planes since they will still probably be waiting for the Max 7's to be certified.

    I find that there isn't much a difference among economy seats among carriers for short haul flying(excluding ULLC's).

  23. UncleRonnie Member

    Seat base looks completely flat across the 3 seats. Great for snoozing in an empty row, not so great for the other guy spilling over into your space.

    1. Brian W Guest

      Bench seats are probably easier and quicker to clean. Makes for faster turn times or a little less cost.

    2. Scudder Diamond

      Tangential, but whatever happened to 'seat cushion as a flotation device'?

    3. Barbarella Guest

      The average American has now enough body fat not to need additional buoyancy.
      That's the flip side of the spillover neighbour: in case of water landing, you won't drown !

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Wade Thruitt Guest

A long dead Herb Kelleher could have made a better decision, regarding seating, than Southwest's current leadership. Great fan of Southwest Airlines, until now.

0
Jason G. Guest

Too far away? Since when is anything in economy seating too far away?

0
Kalina Guest

Spending money on things but not their most valuable assets - their flight attendants - come on and show your cabin crew some love ❤️

0
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