Lonely Planet Writer

Convertible airline 'economy' beds in the pipeline for frequent flyers?

Frequent flyers who look on jealously at first class sleeping arrangements could get an ‘economy’ bed to call their own if one company’s plans for airline seating catches on.

Piuma Sofa
Piuma Sofa Image by YouTube/Trevor Lambert

Geven SpA, an Italian airline seat manufacturer, has developed a concept that turns three single economy seats into a comfy place to lie down and catch forty winks.

The Piuma Sofà takes less than thirty seconds to turn into a sleeper, which may be an attractive option for late night flights, particularly if they rarely run at full capacity.

As their demonstration video shows, headrests are removed, then locked on to the seats, extending them out to the size of a bed.

With the arm rests pushed out of the way, the three-seat bed can then be covered with a mattress to even out any unwelcome bumps.

Blankets, pillows, and eyeshades would all be made available to ensure passengers get their snooze.

The bed would be perfectly comfortable for one, and probably manageable for a couple who did not mind a fairly tight squeeze.

The company said that the sofa “can be installed on as many rows as required”, and makes no actual difference to seating for day time flights.

The average airline rarely exceeds an 85% passenger load over the course of a year according to the company, so giving up a few rows for bedding could prove economical.

Because the seats can be so quickly adapted, airlines could offer no beds on busy flights – and a much larger number at quieter times while using the same aircraft.

The company explained: “It creates no extra thickness to seat pans, does not alter seat comfort, does not add to or pose any obstruction to routine cleaning and adds no great amount of extra weight.”