Calling it a move to “provide a consistent onboard experience for travelers while decreasing the airline’s operational complexity” Hawaiian Airlines is retrofitting its fleet of eighteen 717s with new seats. Currently the company operates five different layouts on its 717 fleet; the retrofit will bring it to a single configuration. Also, it will add an additional row of seats on board using a slimline, lightweight seat manufactured by Acro Aircraft Seating Ltd. The first plane in the new layout entered service today.
The new seats have a “tablet table” rather than a tray table. It is much smaller than a traditional tray table and designed to hold a beverage or tablet. With no meals on the short inter-island hops the need for a larger tray which could hold a food tray is no longer a reality. Also, the thinner seats allow for an extra row to be added, bringing the total number of seats from 123 to 128.
It is rare that a new slimline seat receives positive reviews from passengers. Especially when they typically also include cutting pitch by one to two inches, something Hawaiian is also likely doing to get the extra row of seats on the plane. But the flights with these new seats are under an hour so it shouldn’t matter all that much. Still, a bit hard to buy in to the idea that this is really to improve passenger comfort.
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