It’s no surprise that most people feel that middle seats on airplanes are the most uncomfortable. For the majority of travellers, being stuck between two strangers while struggling for elbow room is a nightmare scenario. But a new design could change these circumstances in the near future.
A little goes a long way
The S1 is a concept developed by a startup from Colorado, Molon Labe Seating, which is three economy seats in a type of zig-zag alignment, which places the middle seat just behind the aisle and window seat in a moderately lower position. Being trapped between two other passengers means dealing with a significant decrease in shoulder space, but shifting the seat back by just a small amount creates a bit more space. The startup designed the middle seat around 3 to 5 inches (7 to 12 cm) wider than regular 18 inch seats.
“That little bit of stagger means that every single person gets to spread out a little more,” says Hank Scott, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Molon Labe Seating.
With this new design, passengers will no longer need to battle for elbow space, which means that the aisle and window seats will also have more room as well.
“No seats are any smaller, one seat ends up being wider, and we’ve solved the elbow wars,” said Scott.
Although the seating arrangement is being made for domestic flights, a variation for longer trips which includes more padding is in the works. The seats have been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration a month ago, and they’re currently being produced by Primus Aerospace in Colorado. The seats are anticipated to hit undisclosed airlines around April or May of next year.
The design is also lighter than the regular airline seats, meaning a slight reduction in fuel costs as well.