It’s not every day that you see any sort of 737 in the Museum of Flight parking lot – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Over the past few years, Alaska Airlines has been making gradual enhancements to its overall product. New seats from Recaro, in-seat power, Wi-Fi from Gogo, Starbucks coffee, and tablet-based in-flight entertainment (IFE). These improvements have all come together to create a product Alaska is calling Alaska Beyond. The most noticeable addition to their product is improving upon their dining options.
To complete the Alaska Beyond project (the last few aircraft will be reconfigured by the end of April), Alaska decided to have a party. Now, that’d be great on its own, but they made it even more impressive by taking a 737-990ER (N462AS, if you wondered) out of service for a day, and gave a two-hour demonstration of the product in flight. Who was to attend? Well, media, stakeholders in the Alaska Beyond product (including Tom Douglas, three-time James Beard award-winning chef), and Alaska’s 0.01% top-tier frequent flyers.
Seattle-area winery Chateau Ste. Michelle has formed a new partnership with Alaska Airlines – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
Inside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field, Alaska got the party started with wine from their newest partner, Chateau Ste. Michelle, along with Beecher’s cheese.
After enjoying the ground party, we were ready to head into the sky. We began to head back to the parking lot (yes, the parking lot) to embark on our flight.
Alaska Airlines first Boeing 737-900ER (N402AS) is seen at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Image from Alaska Airlines.
Yesterday, Alaska Airlines introduced their first Boeing 737-900ER. This aircraft is the newest that is in production for the 737 family and adds a number of firsts for the airline.
Each 900ER delivered (Alaska has ordered 38) will feature the Boeing Sky Interior, new Recaro seats and 181 total capacity (16 in First, 165 in economy), which is nine additional passengers than the 737-900. The -900ER was not stretched over the -900;the additional room comes from re-designing the rear bulkhead to be flat rather than curved.
“Boeing’s Sky Interior and our new custom-designed seats represent the most significant cabin upgrades for Alaska Airlines in more than 20 years and are part of our goal to make flying more comfortable for our customers,” said Brad Tilden, Alaska Airlines’ president and CEO. “In addition to an improved cabin experience, the 737-900ER has environmental benefits, as well. On a flight between Seattle and Newark, New Jersey, for example, the 737-900ER burns 3 percent fewer gallons per seat than a 737-900.”
Here are the new Recaro seats on Alaska Airline’s Boeing 737-900ER. Image by Alaska.
The new Recaro seats still have those headrests that I have come to love on Alaska’s newer aircraft and they offer a pocket for magazines/safety card above the tray table and a net below. Something not as noticeable, but still very important, is the fact that seats are lighter. They are estimated to save 8,000 gallons of fuel per year per aircraft, which will really add up once all 38 are in operation.
“The Boeing 737-900ER is a great addition to Alaska Airlines’ all-Boeing fleet, providing industry-leading efficiency and passenger comfort,” said Brad McMullen, vice president of North America sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The airplane’s Boeing Sky Interior coupled with Alaska’s excellent customer service will provide passengers a flying experience no other single-aisle airplane can match. The 737-900ER also offers the best seat-mile cost on the market, which is especially important with today’s high fuel prices.”
The Boeing Sky Interior provides updated and larger overhead bins, as well as LED lighting. Image from Alaska Airlines.
Alaska’s new 737-900ERs will fly routes between the west and east coasts and is ETOPS certified to operate to the Hawaiian Islands. Alaska also recently announced 50 737 MAX aircraft in an effort to expand and modernize their fleet.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS OF THE ALASKA AIRLINES 737-900ER by Brandon Farris.
Alaska Airlines new New Recaro seats for economy class that will make their appearance on the airline's new Boeing 737-900ERs. Image from Alaska.
Alaska Airlines has announced that they will be installing new seats from Recaro Aircraft Seating on their 22, soon-to-be delivered, Boeing 737-900ERs.
The seats will offer a six-way adjustable headrest, three inches of recline and an additional inch of legroom.
The additional leg room will not affect the airline’s seat pitch of 31-32″, but it will offer more room for your legs. “The extra inch we refer to is gained by Recaro’s clever design that effectively adds one more inch of room to your living space, without us moving the seats further apart,” Alaska spokes person confirmed to AirlineReporter.com. “Specific to pitch, our pitch will stay consistent with our current standard 31-32 inches.”
Alaska Airlines new New Recaro seats for First Class that will make their appearance on the airline's new Boeing 737-900ERs. Image from Alaska.
Alaska will also get new Recaro seats for the first class cabin that will offer five inches of recline, an articulating seat bottom and a six-way adjustable headrest.
The seat, “design includes a comfortable yet slimmer seatback and bottom and a literature pocket located above the tray table,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of marketing. “The new seats add to a very special onboard experience that all of our customers flying Alaska’s new 737-900ERs will enjoy, including Boeing’s Sky Interior—with its improved lighting and sculpted overhead bins that create a more spacious cabin—onboard Wi-Fi, Starbucks coffee, premium Washington wines and delicious meals for purchase, as well as our renowned personal service.”
The seats are also lighter and are expected to save about 8,000 gallons of fuel annually per aircraft.
Last Friday I showed off Boeing’s 360 view of a Boeing 737 (nicknamed the “gigaplane”) and asked how many photos it took to make this one of a kind view. When the first few “around 20,000” answers started rolling in, I thought people were pretty good. Then I realized that other sites and even Boeing had covered the 360 view and stated it was “around 20,000.” I guess I cannot blame people for doing research, but luckily the “real” answer is not an even 20k — I do not have that many prizes.
So what is the exact answer? According to Boeing it is 22,240.
There were a lot of guesses and I appreciate the involvement, but who got closest? Well, I am giving props to the two who were the closest: Ariff Shah from Moscow who was only off by 240 and Allen Cheng from Langley, BC who was off by 260. So what do they win besides uber props on the blog?
These are the fabulous prizes for the Boeing 737 360 giga-plane contest. Good stuff.
They will both be mailed the prizes above: three AirlineReporter.com stickers, one magnet of an ANA Boeing 737 and last, but surely not least a coffee cup holder I got during the first flight of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. For the average person, the paper coffee holder means nothing, but for the true aviation geek, this is gold.
The video above shows behind-the-scenes on the making of the gigaplane image created by Boeing. It seems that fans are not the only ones excited about the giga-image. Rahsaan Johnson, the Director of United’s Communications told AirlineReporter.com, “Boeing is a great partner and the 737 is a great airplane, so we’re happy to join them in showing it off.”
A huge thanks to Boeing for creating and sharing this image with the general public — I hope we see more like it in the future.