Brace For 160 Seat 737s To Hawaii

737I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the WSJ article yesterday, indicating that American, Continental and Delta’s 737’s are being reconfigured with 160 seats.  That’s an additional 10-12 seats in economy depending on airline.  While this may not make big news on a one or two hour flight, it’s noteworthy on the long haul between the mainland and Hawaii.

Adding to this, Continental has already announced they will be replacing some existing Hawaii service with 737’s.  We will definitely be seeing the other carriers follow suit, flying 737s to Hawaii, sooner than later.

How they found room for the extra seats.

The additional economy measure is being accomplished by putting the seats closer together as well as other cabin rearrangements.  On American for example, seat pitch is being reduced from 32-33 inches to 31 inches.  To help minimize the discomfort, the planes will be equipped with new thinner seats.

Have you flown to Hawaii in a 737 yet?  It isn’t new.  It started with now-defunct Aloha Airlines service from John Wayne and Oakland.  Alaska Airlines picked up with 737 service from Portland, Seattle, and soon, Oakland.

Personal Feelings with Facts.

I’ve flown Alaska’s transpacific 737 and I can tell you it isn’t fun.  While a 737 is actually the exact same width cabin as a 757, it just feels worse.  One reason is that the 757 has its floor positioned lower within the fuselage, adding to a larger cabin and more spacious feel.  757s also have over four inches more headroom.  A brief look at one of my aviation forums confirms consensus that 757s are significantly more comfortable than 737s.

On a positive note, 160 seats will require one additional flight attendant (federal law mandates one per fifty passengers).  So while there won’t be any food, there will be more, um, service.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Brace For 160 Seat 737s To Hawaii”

  1. I meant to respond to this when you first put it on your blog. We pay extra to fly from San Jose to Hawaii via Hawaiian Airlines for several reasons:

    1. HA’s 767-300s. Their 2-3-2 configuration is great for couples, and the planes are quite comfortable with an 18″ width. Unfortunately, according to, the pitch in version 2 of the 767-300 has been reduced from 32″ to 30″.
    2. Hawaiian attendants have been , with rare exception, thoughtful and sociable.
    3. Hawaiian Air provides support to so many not-for-profit events and organizations on the islands and the mainland, such as the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo and the Aloha Fest in San Francisco.
    4. Hawaii needs to have its own and profitable major airline (we don’t worry about states like Wyoming and Missouri and Vermont). While we are residents of Silicon Valley, we still like to support the state to which we come so often.

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