Double-decker seats future of flying

As the world figures out a ‘new normal’ in the wake of COVID-19, one question on everyone’s mind is how the future of flying will be impacted by the virus.

Speculation around scrapping duty free and imposing mandatory face masks continues to grow, but one thing that’s not so clear is how aeroplane seating will adapt to adhere to social distancing measures.

Designers across the globe have been responding to the challenge with all kinds of ingenious solutions, with one startup company developing a novel concept so people can safely jet off for their summer break without sitting shoulder to shoulder with other passengers.

Zephyr Aerospace has pitched a new type of aeroplane cabin featuring double-decker, lie-flat seats that can accommodate two levels of passengers using the same amount space currently found in a standard plane cabin.

Photographs of the bunk bed-style plans reveal that premium economy travellers could sit above and below each other in rows, accessing the top level by pulling out a niftily concealed staircase.

The prototype uses the empty space between the cabin seats and the overhead bins – and as both tiers of seats recline, it means passengers could also get a more comfortable night’s rest on long-haul journeys.

“We basically retrofitted a whole other seat on top of another,” Zephyr Aerospace CEO Jeffrey O’Neill told CNN Travel. “So, it’s essentially two levels; it’s not as tall off the ground as people might imagine, it’s only four-and-a-half feet off the ground from the entry point to the lower seat to the upper seat.”

Predicting that economy seats as we know them may no longer exist, Zephyr says that although the premium design will make air tickets pricier, it believes travellers will be willing to pay extra for additional comfort.

Although the idea is still in its infancy, it’s reassuring to know that we might soon have a solution to foreign travel – one that could allow us to continue flying to far-flung destinations, although perhaps at a premium price.

Still, flying with more legroom, extra privacy and space to lie back and catch some quality sleep – that’s something we can totally get on board with.

Would you try a double-decker plane seat? If not, how would you improve plane travel?

– With PA

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