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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Koito seat saga continues with United (Continental) 737NGs

We expect that most new 737NG deliveries out of Seattle would have the new Boeing Sky Interior, right? Well, we got them, complete with the colour LED sidewall and ceiling lighting that are supposed to "enhance the Sense of Spaciousness", 777-style overhead bins, etc, etc. Well, I'm not going to bother with explaining the Sky Interior, just go and see it here:

Boeing 737NG Sky Interior
(Photo by: Boeing)
Besides, Airbus has delivered colour LED Mood Lighting and touchscheen cabin controls for the Flight Attendant before Boeing did for the 737.

United/Continental 737-900ER with Sky Interior
(photo by: Boeing)
The brochure sure look nice, to enhance the passenger experience, for leading airlines, we expect to see other gizmos such as PTVs and power socket. I'm not going to complain about Lion Air not having that, it's not their business model (not yet anyways), but on Continental/United? Yes promised that. Let's see how it looks:

We see the new sculpted window, the colour LED ceiling and sidewall lights, the 777-style overhead bins.

Oh yes gotta love the blue LED colour... BUT WAIT! Where's the PTV and power outlet? Why is it not there?

Where are the PTVs and power outlets?
(photo by: NYCaviation)
If you ask the Airline Passenger Experience (APEX) writers, you get one simple answer: KOITO.

In December 2011, I thought the Koito saga had ended. We all remember and was shocked by Koito aircraft seat scandal that happened in the last 2 years, when they admitted to falsify seat test records for certification. Some screamed "murder", and Koito divested it's aircraft seat unit to save the rest of the company. APEX's Mary Kirby in March last year (when she was still at FlightGlobal) warned in her video blog that all seat manufacturers are scrambling to meet orders from airlines trying to replace their Koito seats immediately.

One victim of this, is Continental. As Continental scrambled to replace the Koito seats for their 737NGs, they selected BE Aerospace seats, and they got them fitted in time for the ones with the new Sky Interiors. Except for 1 problem, whatever seats BE Aerospace could deliver in the scramble order, didn't have certification for power sockets and PTV installations.

Reading NYCaviation's "United Sky Interior Surprise", BE Aerospace said it would take them 18 months for the seats that were delivered to United/Continental 737s with the Sky Interiors to be certified for PTV and power socket.

But don't worry, certification is ongoing and should be complete by end of 2012, and then retrofits can start.

I guess I was wrong when I thought the Koito saga had ended.

Thanks to Will Horton (@winglets747) for his tweet and Mary Kirby (@APEXmary) for her stories on Koito in the past.

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