Where do we stand on airplane seats?
Mile-high seating plans
A company that designs airline seats has submitted radical new designs that would see passengers face their fellow travellers, rather than stare at the back of their seats. So, where do we stand on novel airline seating?
Airline seats and novelty should be strangers. Air travel is such a hellish experience (certainly for those that turn right when they enter a plane) that there should be only two things that matter when it comes to aircraft seats: comfort and safety.
Which is why, thank God, Ryanair’s plan to introduce a standing-only section turned out to be a joke.
But a patent submitted by Zodiac, a French seat designer, is deadly serious. And it looks like a sketch to accompany Dante’s sixth circle of hell, the one in which heretics are destined to spend a lifetime trapped in a burning tomb.
Instead of a row of seats where everyone stares forward in the same direction, assiduously avoiding any eye contact with each other, Zodiac has designed a monumental invasion of personal space. Passengers face alternatively backwards and forwards – but not like on train, where passengers sometimes sit opposite each other across a table. Here, you would be close enough to smell your fellow travellers’ breath, see every one of their pores, while your legs would be forced to dovetail with theirs.
There are still some people who hanker after a the glory days of flying – stewardesses in pillbox hats, metal cutlery, martinis and romance at 30,000 feet. These seats could conceivably facilitate the latter.
But, it’s very unlikely. Because they have been designed for low-cost carriers, with the specific aim of cramming in yet more fares.
Zodiac has dubbed the new seat formation as an “economy class cabin hexagon” – allowing an Airbus A320, for instance, to carry 180 passengers rather than the standard 150. The result will be about as romantic as being stuck in a veal crate en route to an abattoir.