Southwest Airlines is facing backlash on social media for an updated seat design that’s slated to debut on its fleet next year.
It’s been less than a week since the airline announced the new Recaro seats and some customers have already issued concerns on social media, likening the seats, in one case, to “lawn chairs.”
The new seats are part of a slate of changes the carrier made to the interior of the cabin.
They were designed specifically to include a “multi-adjustable headrest cushion for enhanced head and neck support,” according to Southwest.
The carrier added that the design provides “ultimate comfort while maximizing seat width and overall support.”
They are part of the carrier’s updated cabin interior, which it says was designed “based on extensive research covering Customer and Employee perceptions of color, comfort, and their aspirations for the overall onboard experience.”
The carrier also said it conducted customer research and product testing in order to select the global supplier of the aircraft seats.
However, customers, who have only seen images of the seats on social media, are upset over the change.
The company’s TikTok video displaying the new design has already garnered nearly 15,000 comments, with many complaining the seats look uncomfortable and others saying they are switching to another airline.
“What I’m seeing is hardrock seats,” one user chimed in.
One user asked if there was “an option to just stand” while another said they’d prefer to walk.
Meanwhile, many users said they would be booking with Delta Air Lines instead.
One person commented: “You just earned yourself a Delta customer,” while another user said they “aggressively” booked a Delta flight after seeing the video.
Following the backlash, the carrier noted that the video on social media is not an exact representation of the seats.
The seats maintain the average seat width and pitch on Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 and -800 aircraft, and exceed the width currently available on the -700 series aircraft.
The seat itself has a custom ergonomic cushion that has more padding on certain areas of the headrest, backrest and bottom cushion, according to Southwest.