Hawaiian Airlines has retrofitted the first of its 18 Boeing 717 aircraft that features an interior cabin redesign and new seating.
When all reconfigurations of Hawaiian’s neighbor island fleet are completed by the end of this year, there will be a galley, lavatory, and 128-seat configuration in each aircraft.
The company says it will add between five to 10 more seats on each plane. But with more passengers on board, will there be less legroom?
“In fact, there will be more leg room for our customers, even though we’ve been able to accommodate more seats on the airplane with the new configuration. That’s because we’ve got a seat now, more modern seat. A lot thinner and there’s actually about half-an-inch more legroom for the customers,” said Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines.
“With more passengers on board, is anything going to be done about overhead space for carry-ons?” asked KHON2.
“We haven’t changed anything with the overhead bins in this reconfiguration. We think there will be plenty of space and because again of the design of the seats, taking better advantage of the space there, there is a little bit more room in fact underneath the seats for storage,” said Ingram.
According to Hawaiian Airlines, passengers won’t be allowed to recline their seats. Instead, the seats will be fixed at about a five-degree recline.
“That could be a problem for big people,” said passenger Brad Worthen.
“Just a little movement would be cool,” said passenger Kevin Napoleon.
Aviation expert Peter Forman says this is a good move for Hawaiian. “For Hawaiian, it certainly is because they’re gaining extra seats and if they can do it in a way that does not detract from the quality of the ride, i think it’s a win-win,” he said.
Besides a new interior color palette, other design elements will include new seat covers and leather arm caps in First Class; new carpeting, galley flooring and curtains; and new forward windows on certain aircraft.
So could we see some changes to mainland and international flights?
Hawaiian says it doesn’t have any other re-configuration plans to announce at this time, but says its always looking for ways to improve the passenger experience.
The airline’s fleet operates more than 160 short-haul flights daily between the islands.
Hawaiian Airlines also announced its system-wide traffic statistics for the month of February and year-to-date, and both show an increase.
The airlines transported 786,382 passengers in February, compared to 750,889 in February 2014. For the year-to-date, Hawaiian has had a total of 1,634,949 passengers, compared to 1,575,713 at this same time last year.