One new design has passengers facing each other, while Frontier Airlines plans to make the middle seat larger than the aisle or window seats.
The continuing efforts to make airplane seating more comfortable while maintaining the same, or even more seats, for revenue purposes has reached a new stage.
A French aerospace company named Zodiac Aerospace has designed and patented a new seat design it calls Economy Class Cabin Hexagon. The seating arrangement creates a honeycomb of seats that have the aisle and window seat passengers facing forward and the middle seat passenger facing the back of the plane.
In this arrangement, the feet of the forward-facing passengers would align side-to-side with the head of the middle seat passenger. This would allow everyone involved to have maximum shoulder space, and would also allow airlines to fit more passengers into the plane.
The patent does state that the seats in this arrangement would be smaller, although no exact dimensions are listed. But the design does allow for more seats to be placed into an aircraft.
The problem immediately noted by aircraft experts is that this causes every passenger to be staring, almost directly, at the face of other passengers. The middle seat passenger will have a face to their left or their right.
The Zodiac Aerospace design is only a prototype, and as yet has not been adopted by any airlines for future use.
Meanwhile, budget carrier Frontier Airlines announced this week that it is increasing the seating area of the middle seats on flights to 19 inches wide, giving middle seat passengers one extra inch than those passengers in window or aisle seats. Frontier said it is the widest economy cabin seat on any U.S. airline.
However, those same seats have less padding than the aisle and window seats, and the middle seats do not recline, instead coming in what the company calls “pre-reclined’’ position, which allows for a bit more knee space.
Frontier also announced it is putting more seats into each of its places, with the Airbus A320s and A319s each getting an additional 12 seats. A Frontier A320 will now have 180 seats, 30 more than a similar United flight on the same aircraft.
And then there is Boeing, which announced in mid-June plans to make the bathrooms on its 777-300ER aircraft smaller, which would allow for an additional 14 seats on the aircraft. The massive aircraft would then be able to hold 400 seats, up from its current capacity of 386 in its three-cabin configuration. Airbus is also planning smaller bathrooms in its 2016 models.
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.