Boeing’s new 737 interior is a study in limitations

Boeing has announced a new interior for the 737NG family and in so doing the airframer has reminded us that, aside from cosmetic changes, few things are being done to alter the way we fly in commercial narrowbody aircraft.

As reported by Flight’s Jon Ostrower, FlyDubai will be the launch customer for the so-called 737 ‘Sky Interior’ which features new colour-LED lighting, larger 777/787-style pivot bins, new sculpted sidewalls, revised window design, a flight attendant touch-screen panel, and changes to the individual passenger reading-light panel.

Try to curb your enthusiasm when watching the following video about the 737′s new lighting.


Perhaps most significantly, Boeing – which will attach upgraded CFM56 engines to the latest iteration of its hugely popular narrowbody – also hopes to deliver a 2-4dB reduction in cabin noise.

Notably missing from Boeing’s announcement is any mention of seating or IFE&C (wouldn’t it be nice to see the latter of these as standard fare?). Those choices are made by the airline customer and no doubt we’re going to see more of the same on the seating front (on IFE&C, we’ve got lots of reason to believe a paradigm shift in thinking is taking place).

The interior improvements mark the most significant change to the type’s cabin since its introduction with Southwest Airlines in 1998, so bless the manufacturer for trying.

Blame the lack of wiz-bang changes on the apparent limitations of a metal tube or on a lack of innovation or on greedy airlines. Take your pick.

But for a thorough understanding of why economy-class seating is so miserable, check out Popular Science’s excellent article on the subject. I can sympathize with “beleaguered, outsize traveller Eric Hagerman”, who authored the piece.

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One Response to Boeing’s new 737 interior is a study in limitations

  1. Ted May 3, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    Wow, Mary. I was really overwhelmed by the innovations! :-) No need to curb my enthusiasm. I’ll just watch the show on HBO. Much more entertaining.