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Alaska Airlines Upgrading its Aircraft With New Seats and Power Outlets

SEATTLE — Travelers flying on Alaska Airlines starting this fall will enjoy new aircraft seats that feature a personal space-enhancing design and are equipped with power outlets. The airline is also nearing a decision on an enhanced inflight entertainment system that will allow customers to watch movies, television shows and other programming streamed to any Wi-Fi-enabled device.

The $100 million project to upgrade the cabins on all of Alaska's Boeing 737-800, -900 and -900ER aircraft is expected to be finished by the end of 2014.

"Passengers have responded very favorably to the innovative and comfortable Recaro seats on our 737-900ERs. Two other features we know they want the most are power for their electronic devices and enhanced inflight entertainment," said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines' vice president of marketing. "Upgrading our other Next Generation 737 aircraft with Recaro seats, along with adding seat power and an improved inflight entertainment system, will complement our award-winning personal service and make flying more enjoyable for our customers."

Alaska Airlines became the North America launch customer for the main cabin Recaro seat when the carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 737-900ER in November 2012. The seat's slimmer design and location of the literature pocket at the top of the seatback enables Alaska to reconfigure its cabins while maintaining the same passenger comfort standards and personal space that are on its aircraft today. Six seats will be added to the airline's 737-800s and nine seats to its 737-900s.

Alaska will be the only U.S. airline to provide power outlets at every seat on its equipped aircraft, which will include nearly three-quarters of the fleet. The outlets, supplying both 110-volt and USB power for tablets and smart phones, will be conveniently located on the seatback in front of each passenger.

The inflight entertainment solution under consideration will allow programming to be streamed wirelessly from a server onboard the aircraft to any Wi-Fi-enabled device, including passengers' own laptops, tablets and smart phones as well as tablets provided by Alaska.

After reconfiguring its aircraft, Alaska Airlines' 737-800s will accommodate 163 passengers (16 in first class and 147 in the main cabin). The carrier's 737-900s will accommodate 181 passengers (16 in first class and 165 in the main cabin). Its 737-900ERs, which are not being reconfigured with more seats, also accommodate 16 passengers in first class and 165 in the main cabin. Alaska Airlines' aircraft will provide passengers with the current fleet standard seat pitch of 31 to 32 inches and 3 inches of recline.

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