Air New Zealand offers the Skycouch, which allows three seats to be converted into a two-person futon.
Parents traveling with multiple young children often have to split up to accommodate seating arrangements on an airplane. Mom and daughter may get to fly across the aisle from Dad and son, but they could end up rows apart.
Thomson Airways, the third-largest airline in the United Kingdom, has ordered a new set of Boeing jets and is considering a change in some seating arrangements so that there is a “booth”’ of seats facing each other with a table in between for families to reserve.
That is one of the many innovations being considered by numerous airlines in an attempt to recover passengers who have stopped flying or flying less because the experience has turned ugly.
Another plan to cater to families is training flight attendants in child-care functions, with the ability to entertain children with crafts or quizzes that engage the children and occupy precious minutes on flights.
Thomson is also considering “couples’’ seating, in which a pair of seats would have a table between them, ostensibly for the champagne that couples always order when they are on romantic flights somewhere.
Air New Zealand is offering the Skycouch, a row of three seats that can be converted into a futon wide enough for two people. The Skycouch is very popular for couples, with demand coming in 20 to 30 percent higher than standard economy seats. In 2011, the Skycouch won Conde Nast’s Innovation and Design Award, and the airline is considering selling the concept to other airlines.
Delta Airlines has ordered a new set of Airbus planes that have bigger stowage areas above the seating, promising 10 percent more luggage room. They are designed to better handle the most popular rolling luggage suitcases on the market today.
One innovation in armrest design is gathering industry steam. It is called the Paperclip Armrest, which is a double-decker armrest, so that one person can rest their arm on the upper tier and the person in the seat next can rest his arm on the lower tier.
James Lee, the creator of the Paperclip Armrest, said the idea came to him at a conference he attended at MIT. “The guy next to me was using the armrest and I had nowhere else to put my arms. I realized if the armrest had more levels, I could have rested my arm underneath his elbow.”
Then there is the matter of the chairs you sit in on flights, and they are going in two directions. Allegiant Airlines is offering some giant seats in coach class, with better cushioning and more room (for a price). Meanwhile, Airbus has filed a patent for saddle seats, which are basically bicycle seats that requires the passenger to rest their posterior on the seat and keep their feet on the ground. Such seating allows for at least a 10 percent increase in the number of seats in economy class.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.