Malaysia Airlines unveils new B737-800 business class and economy seats


The refreshed 737s get new seats from tip to tail, with seatback video screens swapped for streaming WiFi.

Malaysia Airlines’ new Boeing 737 business class recliners retain a conventional two-by-two layout, although that is trimmed from four rows (16 seats) to three rows (12 seats), while the pitch is reduced from 42″ to 39”.

Handily-located AC, USB-A and USB-C power outlets to keep your travel tech charged up.

The 162 economy seats (set at 30” pitch) also see USB-A and USB-C ports for every passenger; the airline says the seats in both cabins maximise legroom through a slimmer yet still highly comfortable design.

Another change is the removal of all seatback video screens, with video, music and podcasts all streamed through the aircraft’s WiFi system to the passenger’s own smartphone, tablet or even laptop.

As part of the ‘BYO device’ play, every seat – in business and economy – is fitted with a fold-down tray where you can perch your smartphone or tablet. Malaysia Airlines has introduced its first B737-800 NG aircraft featuring new seating in both economy and business class.

Seats in both cabins are upholstered in “genuine lightweight leather”, with a smart blue colour scheme which is “unique to Malaysia Airlines’ identity”.

There are a total of 12 seats in business class, configured 2-2 and with a seat pitch of 39 inches. Features include a personal device holder, AC power outlet, USB port, bottle holder, coat hook and six-way adjustable headrest.

Meanwhile in economy there are a total of 162 seats configured 3-3, with a seat pitch of 30 inches – again passengers benefit from a personal device holder, AC power outlet and USB port, as well as storage space via a literature pocket.

And yes, it’s very blue, right down to the iconic batik motif pressed into the seats. The carrier’s latest MHStudio inflight entertainment system allows customers to connect via their personal device, with forthcoming features including the capability to purchase duty-free shopping and buy-on-board snacks.

Malaysia Airlines said the new seats were a result of “feedback and suggestions received through customer surveys and various focus group sessions in 2020”, which it said demonstrated the carrier’s “commitment to adapt to changing consumer needs and in improving overall customer experience in the post pandemic era”.

A total of 38 of the airline’s B737s – which serve domestic and regional routes – are set to be refitted with the new cabins.

Commenting on the news group chief marketing and customer experience officer of Malaysia Airlines, Lau Yin May, 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.

“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.”

With Malaysia largely reopened to international visitors, the flag-carrier recently unlocked the doors to its Platinum Lounge at Kuala Lumpur, while both this and the adjacent Golden Lounge now welcome guests 24 hours a day.

Destinations beyond the reach or out-stripping the capacity of the Boeing 737s are handled by Airbus A330 and A350 jets with fully-flat business class beds, although there’s no sign of the double-decker Airbus A380s returning after the national airline’s parent company Malaysia Aviation Group put all six superjumbos up for sale in mid-2021.