MIAMI — As Hawaiian Airlines announced plans to add slimline seats to its fleet of 18 Boeing 717s, an analyst says it’s becoming the norm for economy class. Hawaiian will use lightweight seats built by UK-based Acro Aircraft Seating Ltd. Other manufacturers of the seats include Germany’s Recaro, Naples’ Geven, Wellington, Florida-based B/E Aerospace and Zodiac Seats U.S.
Right now, Hawaiian Airlines has five different cabin configurations of its 717s, said Jason Rabinowitz, data research manager for Routehappy and a commenter on the airline passenger experience. “The airline is aiming for consistency within its fleet so that there’s a consistent experience for its passengers,” he said.
The seats, by Acro, are a slim as a slimline seat can get, said Rabinowitz. “They are exceptionally thin, but that’s not to say they aren’t comfortable for the carrier’s needs,” he said. “Acro has carved out all the non-essential parts of the seats, but passengers are only flying short hops, not long-haul flights. As long as you’re not sitting for hours, it will be fine.”
Slimline seats are the new standard for carriers, said Rabinowitz. “There are very few airlines not using them now. Even JetBlue is moving to them,” he said. “And this isn’t to say that they’re all bad. The ones JetBlue will have will include power outlets. And Lufthansa has special seats that some people love and some people hate.”
Not surprisingly, on some longer transcon flights, some passengers don’t like sitting in these seats after a few hours, said Rabinowitz. “But like it or not, slimline seats are becoming the new industry standard, like 10-abreast seats on the Boeing 777,” he said.