Lonely Planet Writer

Wider seats may be on way for overweight plane passengers

The problem has loomed large with airlines and passengers alike for years – how do you accommodate a plainly over-sized person into a normal seat?

Wider seats loom large on airlines' future agenda
Wider seats loom large on airlines’ future agenda Image by Iwan Gabovitch / CC BY 2.0

The answer may have been simpler than we thought – design a bigger seat with the bigger sized traveller in mind.

Enter the SANTO seat – the acronym for Special Accommodation Needs for Toddlers and Overweight passengers which has just been designed and is ready for the market.

It is one-and-a-half times the size of a normal seat in width, and could spell the end of the one size fits all policy which clearly does not work.

The Daily Star reports that up to now slimmer passengers are often expected to suffer in silence as their bigger neighbour spills over into their seat.

The introduction of the bigger seat could have a double benefit for travellers – either overweight people could sit there or the space could be used for a baby chair while at the same time still leaving sufficient room for an adult.

The SANTO designers believe their new over-sized seat would be much safer than the standard economy seat.

SII Deutschland, the Dutch company which has designed the product, won first prize in the ‘Passenger Comfort Hardware’ category in the 2015 Crystal Cabin Awards.

Only recently Airbus unveiled a new plan to get an extra seat into every economy row of their new fleet.

While most airlines don’t have over-sized seats, some such as Samoan Air, charge larger customers extra to allow them to fly.