VIRUS FRIENDLY SEATS?
Now there have been many proposals and actual adjustments over the years when it comes to aircraft seats. I do not know how many of you are old enough or should I say privileged enough to have flown in the early days of commercial flight, feeling like kings and queens in your massive seats and walking every now and then to the bar or lounge area! For us that have only seen pictures of those days it sure looked amazing! But are we again on the brink of change when it comes to airplane seats?
Changing the old ways of flying commercially had its reasons. For example, in the early days smoking onboard was still allowed, today we all know the dangers of smoking/smoke in an aircraft! Early commercial jets were fitted with carpets, tables, rotating chairs and many more interior designed features you would not even dream about in today’s first-class! Even the walls of the plane inside sometimes were covered in material. Flammable materials! It looks a little science fiction when comparing air travel from the early 1950s to around the 1980s.
Changing the way of travel then was done for a good reason. First, we had to improve safety. Stop smoking and get rid of all the flammable materials inside the cabin were some of the first things to go. Secondly, we did what human beings always do, we looked into money. It was soon realized that if we get rid of weight (in other words comfortable seats) we can increase the number of people on board, this led to smaller seats closer to each other. And the days of social lounges and nice comfortable chairs were a thing of the past.
In the coming years, airline seats reduced in size and increased in numbers with only business and first-class being somewhat more comfortable. We started getting used to that, until now. Are we on the brink of change again?
Aviointeriors the Italian company that first introduced the Skyrider 3.0 back in 2010 is the same company that is now proposing the “Glassafe” and “Janus” seat ideas in the wake of COVID-19. A quick reminder for those who do not know, Skyrider 3.0 was a STANDING SEAT. Yes, all it did was support you while standing! So now that you know the company we are talking about, let’s move on to their new design. Glasssafe is in a sense a normal seat with one big difference. Plastic barriers between passengers. In the added picture you can see in order to minimize contact between passengers they install a barrier between the seats calling it an “isolated volume” around the passengers. One of their selling points on this is that if social distancing continues after air travel has opened, airlines will have to space passengers minimum one seat away from each other. This means half the capacity than normal which means half ticket sales and as we said earlier less money is not an option for airlines. The second seat design called “Janus” would turn the middle seat around facing back and not only add a protective cover at face level but will provide each passenger with a protective barrier cocooning your seat.
I am not even talking about the cost of redesigning all your aircraft’s interior and if cutting your passenger count by half for a certain period of time will be a better option. I’m not even mentioning movement issues, safety issues and uncomfortable passengers facing the person sitting behind you, or should I say in front of you? There are many factors involved in this possible change and I am sure the airlines will make the right decision. But until then we have to wait and see what the outcome will be of this proposal for seat design.
Will airlines make the temporary change to Aviointeriors design or will they seat us one seat apart or will there even be such restrictions when the travel ban is lifted?
Let me know what you guys think!
Stay Safe everyone!
Your Captain Joe
May 3rd, 2020