A new cabin is being rolled out for about a third of Alaska Airlines’ jet fleet, including nearly a dozen aircraft already flying routes in Alaska.

Alaska Airlines operates 71 Airbus A320-series airliners as part of its fleet, alongside 162 of its core Boeing 737s.

Airline officials say the modified cabins, which will be gradually installed this year in the entire Airbus fleet, have already been installed in 11 Boeing 737-700 jets currently serving in-state routes and making Seattle-Portland flights. Three of Alaska’s new Boeing 737 MAX 9 jets will also be delivered in the new configuration.

According to the airline, the cabin renovations for Airbus jets acquired in its 2016 purchase of Virgin America shifted into “high gear” this month, after Alaska began formally integrating the airline’s assets into its fleet last year.

“The upgraded cabin is the result of two years of customer research and combines the best features of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, along with many thoughtful enhancements to make the travel journey comfortable, hassle-free and productive,” airline officials wrote.

Alaska Airlines unveiled a new cabin design for its Airbus fleet, as well as 10 Boeing 737-700 jets flying in Alaska, in February 2019. (Courtesy Alaska Airlines)

Airline officials say the 737-700s’ retrofit didn’t add any seats to their 124-passenger capacity. Their seat pitch – the distance between one point on a seat and the same point on the seat behind it – increased from 36 inches to 38 inches, retaining a potential seat recline of 5 inches.

“By retrofitting our 737-700s, we have the ability to bring Premium Class to intra-Alaska flying, which is where the 700s primarily fly,” airline officials wrote in an email. “In addition to adding the new amenities throughout the cabin, there will now be power at every seat.”

The Airbus jets are set to remain in Lower 48 service, with Alaska's eight Airbus 321s seeing 12 and 24 seats added respectively to their first class and Premium Class sections. Seat pitch on board the A321s will fall from 55 inches to 40 inches, with seat recline reduced from 14 inches to 5 inches.

According to the airline, the new cabin features include:

•   Refreshed color palette from the updated bulkhead design to the carpet, bringing in neutral tones that are associated with relaxing environments against pops of Alaska’s signature blue.

•   Ambient mood lighting with calming, cool blue hues developed by lighting and color experts to complement the human body’s natural circadian rhythm. The result is lighting that changes throughout the flight to promote an uplifting energy during the day and calming energy into the evening.

•   Advanced high-speed satellite Wi-Fi by Gogo will deliver faster connection speeds, including the ability to stream content from popular services like Netflix or HBOGo.

•   Redesigned first class Recaro seats that evoke the feeling of both performance and comfort, like a luxury car. The sculpted design features memory foam and a 40” pitch, along with footrests to support guests of varying heights.

•   Ergonomically-friendly tablet holders at each seat that accommodate most tablets and smartphones. The holders free up tray table space and an added shelf keeps devices in  prime viewing position. Flexible mesh pockets also allow for easy access to essentials during the flight.

•   Upgraded premium and main cabin seats now feature memory foam for added comfort.

•   Conveniently-placed and tilted power outlets at every seat (USB & 110V) that allow guests to easily locate and charge two devices at once. The electrical boxes under the middle seat have been relocated to provide more personal space for guests.

•   Curated, onboard music program with a cool West Coast vibe that complements the relaxing and modern ambiance.

•   Cup holders throughout first class and premium class, so that guests can multi-task while they savor a craft beer, wine, or cocktail and have full use of the tray table.

Alaska Airlines unveiled a new cabin design for its Airbus fleet, as well as 10 Boeing 737-700 jets flying in Alaska, in February 2019. (Courtesy Alaska Airlines)

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