Starting this month, guests flying on Alaska Airlines will experience a comfortable and modern new cabin, as the West Coast airline shifts into high gear retrofitting its Airbus fleet. 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 enhancements to make the travel journey comfortable, hassle-free and productive.
"Just two years after acquiring Virgin America, we're thrilled to introduce a modern cabin that aligns the onboard experience across our fleet," said Ben Minicucci, president and COO at Alaska Airlines. "After extensive feedback from our guests and in collaboration with our partners, we've infused the Alaska Airlines cabin with key brand elements from Virgin America – the result is a premium experience at an affordable price."
Alaska's 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's Airbus fleet of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft are being updated in phases this year and by early 2020, 36 percent of the mainline fleet will feature the new cabin interior – including the entire Airbus fleet, Boeing 737-700s and three new Boeing MAX 9 planes. The retrofitted planes will bring consistency to the guest experience across the Alaska fleet, and expand the First Class and Premium Class sections with 12-seats and 24-seats respectively, offering more guests the option of an elevated experience. Alaska will take delivery of its first MAX 9 this summer, which will feature the new cabin interiors.
"Our guests are at the center of everything we do," said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines' executive vice president and chief commercial officer. "From relaxing in our lounges to being in the air, we know travelers want more control and comfort, while also enjoying the same low fares and great service. So that's exactly what we did – we created a relaxing travel experience, so that our guests can focus on where they're going and leave the rest to us."
The new cabin is part of a series of investments Alaska has made to its onboard offering over the last 12 months, which includes advanced, high-speed satellite Wi-Fi, free chat, free movies and entertainment, and a new rotating seasonal menu. The menu offerings feature fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and feel-good snack and beverage options from beloved West Coast brands including Salt & Straw, Luke's Organic and Fremont Brewing. By 2020, the majority of the mainline fleet will have the new satellite Wi-Fi installed.
The unveiling of the new cabin interior comes on the heels of Alaska Airlines' plans for a new 8,500-square-foot at San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 2. Featuring stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, the lounge will feature warm finishes and a modern and welcoming vibe, along with generous amenities such as hand-crafted Starbucks beverages, made-to-order meals for purchase and an expansive bar program featuring local Bay Area draught beers and West Coast wines. The Lounge is expected to open in 2020.
In addition, as part of Alaska's multi-year investment to refresh and expand its Lounge portfolio, the new flagship 15,800-square-foot lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will open in the next few months. Alaska is also renovating its Lounges in Anchorage, Alaska, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. These renovations are expected to be completed in the next few months and will include a new barista station, made-to-order meals and additional seating, as well as an updated look-and-feel.
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