Innovations in terms of aircraft seats of the future for economy class fliers? These will be coming our way soon.
Curved seatbacks allow for more legroom and greater comfort. The fabric used in the seats pictured above, for instance, is a smart textile that senses passengers’ weight, size and movements, using electric current passing through its threads that allow sensors to measure the person’s weight and size, then automatically adjusts the contours and softness of the seat accordingly. There is also an app that allows for the seated passenger to adjust the seat temperature and make the seat softer or firmer. Of course, the data may change during the course of a flight and is continuously monitored to maintain optimum conditions for the passenger. A slightly wider middle seat is also on the cards, to give the person in the centre seat a little more space. One of the manufacturers, Mirus Aircraft Seating is using its Formula 1 experience and computer-aided engineering technology to include carbon fibre and high-strength alloys in aircraft seats, making these strong, lightweight and durable; they also provide an interactive augmented reality app to highlight seating options.
Another seat company, Molon Labe Seating, has come up with a side slip seating arrangement which allows for the aisle seat to slide over the middle seat to allow more room when boarding or disembarking, not only for passengers but also for wheelchair users; when fully extended, the middle seats will have 2″ more width than those on either side. This “staggered” design also make passengers feel they have their own armrests. Tray tables and armrests can be quickly and easily removed too.
AirGo Design in Singapore designed and brought into use the Orion seat (above) for long-haul economy class, that has some innovative hallmarks. The ergonomic design, multi-density foam headrests, patented “Aircushion” and a 10.5-degree recline allows improved seating posture and lumbar support, and an extra 4″ of legroom while allowing the usual pitch. The redesigned armrests make the seats up to 12% wider.
Or could this be the economy class seat of the future?
This new stretch-out design by Lloyd Weaver and Burk Daggett of design firm SE Aeronautics is being patented. It promises extra legroom, better recline to aid your sleep and the kind of comfort associated with flying business class. “Why is the client, who is paying hundreds of dollars for a seat, put in such an uncomfortable situation as today’s airline seats?” asked Daggett. Using the latest viscoelastic materials to construct a seat that is ultra-thin yet still achieves passenger comfort by conforming to the passenger’s body shape, it can tip forward as much as 15° and back by another 15° doubling the recline angle to 30°, without affecting others in front or behind, according to its designers.
As people have grown larger, so seats have actually decreased in size. The single biggest complaint of economy class fliers is the discomfort they must endure. All agree any improvements in economy class will be most welcome and it is high time airlines paid more attention to passenger comfort than their own bottom lines.