That new plane smell (and look): Spirit debuts new seats, bigger tray tables

Spirit unveiled its first plane outfitted with the airline’s new seats, bigger tray tables and new cabin colors on Tuesday.

The new features, which were announced in September, were installed on a new Airbus A320neo and will eventually be featured on new and existing Spirit planes, with older planes retrofitted as they go in for maintenance.

The rapidly growing no-frills airline, known for cheap fares and a bundle of fees, said the upgrades are part of its “Invest in the Guest” program. Other new features it says are on the way: Wi-Fi and self bag check. All are designed to woo repeat customers and first timers put off by budget airlines.

What’s new on Spirit planes?

Spirit says the new composite seats are padded with ultra lightweight foam and come with extra prerecline. (Passengers can’t recline their own seats on Spirit.)

The airline, which is often criticized for its thin thin seats and lack of legroom, says the seat design will offer passengers an extra two inches of “usable” legroom. The tray tables are also full size now instead of miniature.

“We listened to our guests and went on the hunt for the optimal Spirit seat,” Spirit CEO Ted Christie said in a statement. “Our new seats and cabin redesign were developed from the ground up to enhance the experience, while maintaining our low fares at the same time.” 

The airline’s faux first class seats, called Big Front Seats, are also getting a reboot, including additional memory foam in the seat cushion and headrest.

The color scheme of the new cabin is Spirit’s trademark black and yellow. The current seats on most of its planes are blue.

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