Around the World

Miles flown for stories
2014: 360,327
2013: 330,818

Alaska Airlines Presents New, Roomier Seat in their 737-900ERs

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 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 apperance on the airline's new Boeing 737-900ERs. Image from Alaska.

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.

Allegiant Announces They Will Add More Seats, Another Flight Attendant, but Keep Legroom

Allegiant MD-80 tail with a clear blue sky

Allegiant MD-80 tail with a clear blue sky

Allegiant Air announced today that they will be adding 16 additional seats to most of their MD-80 aircraft. All of the 48 currently operating and nine of the additional ones will be operating with 150 seats will be changed to accommodate 166 seats.  The three MD-87’s that hold 133 seats will not be changed.

Allegiant is investing $50million into this change, which includes removing the galleys. They will start the changes near the end of 2011 and will be completed by the end of 2012.

“These added seats will allow us to grow our capacity with the least amount of risk,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President, said. “This project effectively increases our capacity by 11 percent while lowering our cost per seat. In addition, we expect to fund this through internally generated cash-flow.”

This investment shows that Allegiant will continue with their fleet of MD-80 aircraft as well as their newer Boeing 757s for the future.

Due to the increase in passengers, Allegiant will be adding a fourth flight attendant to the 166 passenger aircraft. This increases the ratio of flight attendant to passenger from 1:50 to 1:42.

I wondered if this would mean Allegiant would offer less seat pitch for customers. Just back in 2004, Allegiant made a big deal about taking out three rows of seats to provide more leg room (thanks to Dan Webb for that link). I asked Jordan McGee, Director if Allegiant Corporate Communications and she explained that all Allegiant’s aircraft are not configured the same, but even after the conversion to 166 seats, all the aircraft will have a seat pitch between 30-32 inches.

“Our current seat pitch varies by aircraft because of different configurations, but our average is 30-32 inches. We also have quite a few seats at 33 inches and then some upwards of that, depending on the aircraft. Once we make the conversion to 166 seats, each seat will be between 30-32 inches,” McGee explained.

If they aren’t using the galleys to serve food, why have them? Heck, if Allegiant can put in more seats and more flight attendants while not taking any leg room away from me and while trying to keep fares competitive, I am all for it.

Image: p1anespotting

Awesome Carbon Fiber Seats on Qantas’ Airbus A380′s

Slim and light don't describe the Airbus A380, but sure do describe Qantas' carbon fiber seats on their A380.

Slim and light don't describe the Airbus A380, but sure do describe Qantas' carbon fiber seats on their A380.

The Airbus A380 is the largest commercial airline in the sky today. It is massive. When you think about this plane you don’t think about “light.” However there is something light about the seats on Qantas Airbus A380’s…they have carbon fiber.

What’s carbon fiber you ask? (if you don’t ask, skip this paragraph) In easy terms it is woven fiber material that is stronger and lighter than metals used in other airline seats. For a more complex answer, read this. While the carbon fiber on the seats is what got my attention about the Qantas’ seats, there are plenty of other cool things going on.

About a year ago, Mary Kirby, via her Runway Girl Blog, talked about the 2009 Australian International Design Award of the Year for their seats. Not only because of the high-tech materials used, but also the way the seats recline. Like a high-end movie theater, the bottom part of the seat moves forward when one reclines, taking away less room from the person behind you.

Qantas told me, “The carbon fibre backshell on the Qantas A380 Economy seats is exclusive to Qantas and provides a unique natural element and visually stunning appearance. The material was selected for sleek design appeal and aircraft weight benefits.”

These carbon seats might be exclusive now, but I am sure we will be seeing seats like these on future flights. As carbon fiber gets cheaper and airlines are looking to cut costs and green house emissions I imagine more carbon fiber will be used. And as Kirby shows, you might be seeing this seat on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner as well.

Two more pictures: ONE & TWO

Thanks Dan for pointing this out!

Image: Jalopnik

Standing Seats are NOT Coming to a Ryanair Plane Near You

I doubt these yellow RyanAir seats will be taken out for stand up seats anytime soon

I doubt these yellow Ryanair seats will be taken out for stand up seats anytime soon

I debated if I should even blog about this, but figured why not?

Ryanair is out there running its (genius) PR machine again. It doesn’t matter how many times Ryanair says something the media will pick it up and treat it like fact. I love Ryanair’s ability to consistently do this and especially with a topic that has already been picked up previously. They will talk about some radical money-saving scheme (ie paid toilets) and then it never happens. Yet passengers get the idea that Ryanair is willing to do almost anything to save passengers money and look to them for the cheapest ticket possible, while Ryanair gets tons of free publicity. Like their PR strategy or hate it, at least it works (and I know I am guilty of helping them out).

Anyhow, Ryanair is at it again saying they are looking to provide uber low fares on stand up seats, but Boeing is saying no way. Aubrey Cohen with the Seattle PI quotes Boeing as saying, “We are not considering standing-only accommodations, nor do we have any plans to do so. Among other things, stringent regulatory requirements — including seats capable of withstanding a force of 16 Gs — pretty much preclude such an arrangement.”

Even though I don’t think it is that crazy of an idea to offer stand-seating in the future, I doubt we will be seeing them anytime soon. Many short-hop flights from 30-90 minutes could be done standing up. Think of riding a full bus or train and seeing people having to stand for longer periods of time. Unlike a bus or train, an airplane under-goes much more force with take off and landing.

Even if standing seats did exist, would they make economical sense? Ryanair is saying they would charge as little as $6 for a standing seat. Adding extra seats, but reducing fares while having to haul around more weight doesn’t seem to make business sense. It would most likely be more cost effective just to keep the sitting seats and charge more.

Image: GetDown

Will Nintendo Wii be Used in the Cockpit of the Future?

Will the future cockpit have a Nintendo Wii?

Will the future cockpit have a Nintendo Wii?

With recent stories of pilots being distracted while flying, one might think a Nintendo Wii is a bad idea to have in the cockpit. However we aren’t talking about playing Mario, it is for the health of the pilots. Most airliners are designed for the comfort of the passengers, but don’t think of the pilots. Each year airlines lose productivity and money due to pilots taking time off the job from back injuries. Graduate student, Nicoline van der Vaart, took a look at what future cockpits might look like to increase pilot comfort and reduce airline costs.

The concept is not just about improved seats, but also improved habits of pilots. Some of the suggestions are:
* Have personal sitting instruction
* Reference book with information and exercises
* Let pilots know about fitness opportunities at destination hotel
* Have a back review for pilots every six months

Van der Vaart looks at the present, 2nd generation and possible 3rd generation of cockpit comfort. The next step is to provide pilots with a better seat and instructions given above. The 3rd generation gets into some pretty cool stuff (ie: Nintendo Wii). In the future they will have super comfortable seats that will be able to be customized. The cockpit will remind pilots to change position and Nintendo Wii-Fit programs will keep the pilots active during long flight.

So next time you think you are in a cramped seat for a few hour flight, think of the pilots who are up front all day long. Hopefully in the future, pilots will have more comfort, less injuries and airlines will have lower costs and happier employees.

I found this interesting story on Mary Kirby’s Runway Girl blog, check it out! To see Van der Vaart’s entire presentation go here.