For decades, budget airline passengers have tolerated cramped seats as a necessary evil. Now not just one, but three, separate companies are offering up hope at last of a seating revolution. In the category of ‘Why did nobody think of this before?’ is the Cozy Suite, which at its simplest -staggers, or steps back, seats to make them roomier.
The benefits of the Thompson Aero Seating plan include increased seat and shoulder width, extra room for arm rests, and also extra privacy. Seats are easier to access as well, particularly for window passengers who get trapped by a heavy sleeper in a neighbouring seat. The best feature however, is that the stepped back seats allow for a dedicated snoozing position where passengers can rest their head to the side without fear of falling asleep on a stranger’s shoulder.
It is not just good news for passengers however, as with the extra room created, airlines could fit in extra seats and increase capacity. A slightly more conservative plan – but no less ingenious – is B/E Aerospace’s plan for seats that can slide forward or backwards dependent on the size of their passengers. It could prove a godsend particularly for taller passengers, whose long frames were simply not considered when airline seating standards were created. An airline using the sliding seats could for instance put a child in front of somebody extremely tall,let the youngster’s seat roll forward a little, and allow both to fly in comfort.
Most dramatic of the three ideas is the one put forward by Zodiac Aerospace with its honeycomb seating plan designed for short haul flights. Using flip-up seats, it has middle seats facing the opposite direction to the seats on either side, and would allow for thirty extra seats on a standard aircraft. Other advantages include much faster boarding because of the flip-up seats, substantially wider seats, and increased elbow room for passengers.