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Southwest Airlines defends new seat design plans after backlash

The airline unveiled plans last month to update aircraft cabins with upgrades that include new seating, larger overhead bins, and power ports.
Southwest Airlines defends new seat design plans after backlash
Posted at 2:01 PM, Mar 08, 2024

Southwest Airlines is responding to backlash after announcing an interior redesign.

The airline unveiled plans last month to update aircraft cabins with upgrades that include new seats featuring multi-adjustable headrest cushions, larger overhead bins and power ports.

But social media users took issue with part of the plan, claiming the new seating lacked space and comfort.

Southwest released a rendering of the design plans in a TikTok video, which garnered nearly 20,000 comments. Users flooded the post with criticism, saying the seats appeared thinner and looked like they lacked leg room.

“Ozempic even got our seats,” said one TikToker.

“Thanks, just reinforced why I never fly Southwest. Might as well use solid plastic seats!” said another TikToker. Another equated the seating to “relaxing on slates of granite.”

Some users on social media accused the airline of making the seating thinner and tighter so the airline could squeeze in more rows of chairs.

Katy Nastro, a travel expert and airline editor for Going.com, told "Good Morning America" that on first impression, "I sort of felt like they were a trim, more slimmed-down version of what we currently know when we fly Southwest."

Southwest responded to the backlash.

A spokesperson for the airline said in a statement obtained by ABC News that the “original images were 2D renderings to show the cosmetic look of the seats and were not scalable for illustrating seat comfort.” The company also provided 3D photos that showed a bit more padding.

"But rest assured, we have our customers' back — even when they give us flak," the representative said. 

The new RECARO aircraft seats are set to debut early next year. 


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