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Malaysia Airlines unveils new seats on Boeing B737-800NG aircraft

Malaysia Airlines has unveiled new seats on the Boeing B737-800NG (Next Generation) aircraft. Let’s take a look at the new seats.

Malaysia Airlines currently operates 38 Boeing B737-800NG aircraft. The airline operates these aircraft for short and medium haul flights. The newly refreshed cabin is scheduled to take to the skies by the end of July 2022 and will be progressively rolled out to more domestic and regional destinations as more of the 38 refurbished aircraft are completed.

New refreshed cabins

The refreshed B737-800s will feature 12 Business Class seats in a 2-2 configuration. The new “fresh and premium cabin environment” features a bright and refreshing colour scheme that is unique to Malaysia Airlines’ identity. The airline’s guests will notice an infusion of the iconic Malaysian and the national carriers’ batik motif that is recognisable worldwide and has such deep representation of the rich Malaysian heritage included throughout the cabin, from the upholstery to the curtains, an ode to the airline’s roots.

The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier says that “the new seats are ergonomically built with lightweight upholstered leather and designed to provide passengers greater comfort and with enhanced functionality as it comes with personal device holders and power outlets to charge their own personal devices”.

The Business Class seats feature USB-A and USB-C ports along with AC power outlets. The seats will have storage space (including a bottle holder), a coat hook, a calf-rest, a six-way adjustable headrest, and a collapsible cocktail table. The seat pitch will be 39 inches, which is 3 inches less than the seats they are replacing. And unlike before, there will no longer be a proper bulkhead between business class and economy, but rather there will just be a smaller (and lighter) divider.

Refreshed Business Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s
Refreshed Business Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s
Refreshed Business Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s
Refreshed Business Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s
Refreshed Business Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s

The Economy-class cabin will feature 162 seats in a 3-3 configuration, 18 more than the older cabin on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s, meaning that the cabin is getting an extra 3 rows. The airline says that the seat pitch has been maintained at 30 inches, same as in the older seats. Like business class, inflight entertainment screens are being replaced by personal electronic device holders. Economy Class seats will feature USB-A and USB-C ports (but not AC power outlets).

Refreshed Economy Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s
Refreshed Economy Class seats on Malaysia Airlines’ B737s

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These refreshed B737s will also debut the next generation wireless in-flight entertainment called “MHstudio”. Passengers will be able to stream content ranging from TV programmes and movies to podcasts, music and reading materials on their own electronic devices. Passengers will also be able to purchase Duty Free items from MHStudio and can even add on in-flight snacks from its buy-on-board catalogue called MHskysnacks and have them delivered straight to their seat. These services will be made available on selected flights in the fourth quarter of this year.

Lau Yin May, Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Malaysia Airlines, said:

We are thrilled to roll out the newly refreshed B737-800 NG, which will deliver future travel experiences through innovative features from seats to highly customisable inflight entertainment while staying true to our roots by incorporating Malaysian elements in the overall interior cabin design. The cabin refurbishment exercise began in 2021, a bold step taken by the airline in response to feedback and suggestions received through customer surveys and various focus group sessions in 2020 to better understand the needs of our customers. This demonstrates Malaysia Airlines’ commitment to adapt to changing consumer needs and in improving overall customer experience in the post pandemic era. We are pleased to share that our in-flight entertainment is a game changer offering extensive media content, including award-winning local and international movies and TV series, as well as in-flight shopping. All of these are done to give our guests a taste of the warmth and hospitality that Malaysia Airlines is known for whenever they travel with us.

Take a look at the new seats in the video below:

Focus on sustainability

Malaysia Airlines’ refreshed cabins on the B737s are focused on sustainability. You may ask how this is sustainable? Well, the new configuration is allegedly 679 kilograms lighter than the old configuration, and it’s claimed that this will reduce fuel burn by around 91,000 liters per aircraft per year.

The wireless in-flight entertainment, leaner seats, and soft cabin dividers made of lightweight materials, contribute significantly to the airline’s ongoing sustainability efforts in which the aircraft fuel burn per passengers will improve by 8%.

Yin May added:

It is becoming increasingly important that we do everything with sustainability in mind. The all-new features of our refreshed B737-800 NG fleet will reduce our carbon footprint from the reduction of the weight of each aircraft – with the much lighter seats, use of soft cabin dividers and moving away from seatback screens to offer innovative in-flight entertainment features allowing for wireless streaming on board at their convenience.

Thoughts on the new cabin

Malaysia Airlines has always been a full-service carrier. The fact that the airline has put a focus on sustainability by reducing the cabin products’ weight is commendable. However, from a passenger’s perspective, it is not good. Whenever passengers board an aircraft of a full-service carrier, they expect some kind of premium amenities such as personal inflight entertainment screens.

However, Malaysia Airlines has not always been able to charge a premium as a full-service airline, compared to competitors such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. And the fact that Malaysia Airlines has been struggling financially since a few years also adds to this. Naturally, a airline struggling financially will look to cut costs wherever possible and Malaysia Airlines is doing just that.

These changes will not be noticeable for short regional hops. However, Malaysia Airlines uses these B737s to operate flights of 4 to 5 hours and on these flights, these changes will be quite noticeable.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines recently announced that it will launch flights to Tokyo Haneda on 14th August 2022.

Featured image by AeroTime Hub

All the other images by Malaysia Airlines

What do you think of Malaysia Airlines’ refreshed cabins on B737-800NGs? Let me know in the comments section below.

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