Airlines have a difficult relationship with comfort.
They want customers to have it, as long as those customers pay a lot more money for it.
Airlines do, though, have more exalted priorities. These tend to involve making as much money as possible. This comes with the uncomfortable notion that customers can be cooped up with little legroom on seats thinner than a politician’s scope of thought.
Last week saw the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. This is where the wise, the clever, and the never-embarrassed meet to see if they can find new, more profitable ways of putting more people in narrow tubes.
One of the more moving ideas was to place customers in the overhead lockers. More accurately, at the height of the overhead lockers, if they were still there.
Here was a design for double-decker Economy Class seating. It’s a lovely note. Should you be in the top layer of seating, you can truly feel like you’re in the sky and lean your seat back into blissful air, with no threat of aggressive knee action from the person behind.
If, however, you’re in the lower layer of seating, the view isn’t quite so. Your face is at the level of a bottom belonging to the person in front of (and above) you. This may have gaseous consequences.
Still, you’d have more legroom, even if you might also have real difficulty getting out of the middle seat. And what if the lower level seats were really cheap?
But was this truly the worst sitting idea at the Expo?
I’m unreasonably grateful to Flightradar24 for posting something that gave me great pause and not a little bit of nausea.
For this was another proposed Economy Class seat design. The seats look like they were bought at a village craft fair. They look like they were originally intended as deckchairs before the creators thought they had a better idea. Or, perhaps, too much fabric.
The whole thing looks flimsy. There’s an integrated headrest, which is so clever that it seems as if there’s no headrest at all.
You may immediately be wondering what level of Beelzebub might put such seats into their planes.
I feel painfully certain that some airlines seats might think about it and declare these are lighter, and will therefore lead to less fuel being burned. So goodness, let’s save the Earth.
But Flightradar24 suggest these seats aren’t so light, but may be so very, very cheap.
Would you believe, too, that the manufacturers are actually taking steps to have these seats certified by officialdom?
Perhaps you’re still saying to yourself: “It’ll never happen.” But how often in the last few years have you said that and soon discovered that, oh, that thing just happened?
And no one was arrested for it.
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