With Northern Pacific aiming to launch trans-pacific flights via Anchorage later this year, what should passengers expect on board? Interiors work on the first aircraft is not yet complete, but the company shared some details on seating, entertainment, and dining options travelers can expect to see in service.
n.b. – Travel expenses for PaxEx.Aero to attend the event were paid by the airline. Opinions expressed here are, however, very much our own.
Strong design notes
Much like the aircraft, Northern Pacific’s seats come to the airline used. But the company made sure they don’t look like that. The Zodiac seats are fully refinished. LA-based aviation design group ACLA studio is handling the detail work.
ACLA co-founder Matt Cleary was impressed by the “strong vision, and commitment to investing in it” that Northern Pacific put forward with the cabin interior project. He and fellow co-founder Victor Carlioz recognize that it is an older plane with older seats, but they still aim to provide a fresh feel on board for passengers.
Carlioz described the seat stitching details as reflecting Alaska’s “mountain landscape and glaciers, with the mountain blue color of Northern Pacific’s branding,” for example. The seats will feature “vegan leather” (a/k/a synthetic) covers, with fabrics from industry leader Tapis Corporation.
The cabin will also feature mood lighting and other refinements, though Carlioz notes that the current version is very much a first draft, with refinements ongoing.
Three classes of service
Northern Pacific’s 757s will offer three cabins on board, in what would typically be described as a domestic configuration by US airlines.
First Class Cabin
The first class cabin will feature recliner seats in a 2-2 layout, but not a premium long-haul product such as beds. Perhaps that’s easier to market with the shorter individual flights owing to the Anchorage stop. Or the company realizes that travelers willing to pay for the bed on board are more likely to stick with more established airlines.
McKinney described the product as “more amenity driven” on top of the wider seat and increased legroom. For the first class cabin that translates to “getting free drinks or better in-flight connectivity for free” or similar benefits.
Renderings show 20-24 seats in this cabin; specific details on seat counts were not available at the event.
Premium Economy Cabin
Northern Pacific will offer a few rows of 3-3 seating of the Zodiac 5751 seats with increased leg room on board, sold as a premium economy product. Similar to the first class cabin, McKinney expects to differentiate this product more with soft touches than in the hard product.
The bulk of the cabin will be the standard economy product. And it will very much be an economy class offering for long-haul travel.
Carlioz notes that the bas Zodiac 5751 seat is pretty comfortable to start, “more plush” than the slimline models more commonly seen in new cabins. On top of the additional padding, the seat offers an articulating seat pan to improve support while reclined. This is especially important for the longer haul trips Northern Pacific intends to fly.
How many seats?
Of note, however, the seats were not displayed to reflect typical pitch nor the total number on board. Renderings suggested five or six rows of first class and three rows of premium economy. A murmur of about 180 seats on board was making the rounds at the event, but not confirmed.
Entertainment and connectivity on offer
Northern Pacific will feature high speed in-flight connectivity and streaming entertainment options on board the 757 fleet. The carrier will not install in-seat screens for travelers.
CEO Rob McKinney stopped short of confirming vendors for the offerings, but described a “cutting edge IFE experience” with a large content library on board for personal device streaming.
The initial few aircraft arrived at Northern Pacific with the Intelsat 2Ku hardware on board, previously operational for American Airlines. That gear is still installed, but McKinney suggested there might be there might be more to what the company ultimately activates for passengers.
[2Ku] is probably going to be a big piece of the solution, but technologies are moving forward so there are ways to add on and improve on it, and that’s what we’re doing.
McKinney expects that the system will support streaming speeds for passengers on board, but left open the option of that being a premium priced connectivity package option. It is almost certain that the connectivity will not be free to passengers based on McKinney’s comments.
The wireless IFE platform will also support ordering of food and drinks for passengers on board, also a paid service on board. Even with the longer flights McKinney does not anticipate much in the way of complimentary service during the trip.
That said, the airline notes its success in establishing partnerships with some suppliers could lead to some complimentary offerings on board. McKinney specifically called out the PepsiCo relationship with the potential to bring some Frito-Lay options on board without charge to travelers. The livery unveiling party featured some sponsored cocktails as part of these relationships. And plenty of Frito-Lay options as guests departed.
More on Northern Pacific's history and growth plans:
- Ravn Alaska plans international expansion, 757 acquisition, Anchorage hub
- Ravn Alaska registers Northern Pacific name for transpacific LCC operations
- Northern Pacific snags six 757s for Asia service
- Northern Pacific unveils aircraft, addresses service launch challenges
- Streaming IFE, softer seats feature on Northern Pacific’s new interiors
- Northern Pacific to lease aircraft for service launch
- Northern Pacific seeks public investors
- Northern Pacific visits Saipan in search of partners
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