MIAMI— The newest seats for Southwest Airlines are starting to make the rounds some six months after they were first announced at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. At that time the seat supplier, B/E Aerospace, was unwilling to let the public see the new product. Fast forward to last week’s Media Day event and the carrier was happy to show off the prototype of the seats. They are a new product from B/E Aerospace, the Meridian line, and will roll out beginning with aircraft deliveries in May 2016.

The seats are similar to the highly acclaimed Pinnacle product from B/E Aerospace but with a few tweaks. Compared to the current Evolve product the Meridian offers a number of benefits related to leg room under the seat in front and also potentially additional space for magazines and the safety card, though Southwest executives were quick to point out that the design of the rear panel was not quite finalized yet. The prototype also shows off an adjustable headrest which would be a significant passenger upgrade from the Evolve seats.

While talking about the new seats there was also discussion of the existing Evolve product and whether the Meridian seats were brought in to fix any issues with the current product. Executives insisted that was not the case. The new seats are being brought in as part of the effort to continue shaving weight off the overall load on the aircraft, not because the Evolve seat requires a fix. Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan notes that the company receives “very, very few complaints overall about the interior, about in-flight, about the seat.”

That said, the new Meridian seats are all blue compared to the tan & blue of the Evolve product. And the company is moving towards the new color scheme as part of the “Heart” rebranding campaign. The existing seats will not be replaced but some are seeing updates as part of a maintenance cycle to fix what Jordan described as sagging in the seat pan. The replacement kit will be the new color scheme while remaining the existing Evolve product.

Finally, there have been a number of doubts cast on the metrics behind the “widest 737 seat” claims the company has made. All evidence to date suggests that the seat cushion width and shoulder space has not changed with the Meridian hardware. The armrests are narrower, allowing the space between them to measure as wider but the actual total width allocated to a passenger does not appear to have changed.

Pitch should get a bit better as there will be no additional seats added to the fleet with the Meridian seats. That should lead to more personal space for travelers on board. But width does not appear to be changing in an appreciable manner for passengers.