Is this two-story seat the future of air travel?

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Is this two-story seat the future of air travel?

(CNN) – A design that remodels airplane cabins with two-story flats in a flat economy is considered a possible solution for brochures that seek more protection from the spread of Covid-19.

Zephyr Seat is the vision of designer Jeffrey O’Neill, who appreciates the isolation from passengers that its creation will offer could be a game changer after the pandemic.

“We believe that new types of travelers will demand privacy or want to pay extra for it as long as they pay for the ability to sleep,” O’Neill, founder and CEO of Zephyr Aerospace, told CNN Travel. .

With the Zephyr Seat, airlines could provide two-story seats in a 2-4-2 format, which O’Neill says would allow most global airlines to maintain the same seat density as those offered by existing premium cabins.

Sitting in the premium economy, O’Neill realized in the middle of the long journey that he would not see any eye.

“I’m probably the best airline in the world and I get great service and the food is edible, but I can’t sleep,” he recalls. “It’s really uncomfortable. Why is it so hard to find a cheap way to get on a 19-hour flight?”

Real estate on a plane is expensive – and airlines usually don’t want to sacrifice space.

But O’Neill found himself reminiscing about a long-distance trip by bus on a trip through Argentina. The bus used bunk beds and slept much better than its seemingly more luxurious flight to Singapore. She told him that maybe that was the solution.

That was two years ago, and O’Neill says his idea dates back to a paper towel he dreamed of working with his partner on a mocking model, which he says proves his worth.

Two-storey seats

The Zephyr Seat offers a two-story indoor aircraft.

Gentle offer Zephyr Aerospace

The idea of ​​the two-story Zephyr uses the space between a standard seat and a bucket.

“We basically put another seat above another,” O’Neill explains. “So it’s basically two levels, it’s not as high as the ground people could imagine, it’s only four and a half feet from the ground from the entrance to the bottom seat to the top seat.”

The result, O’Neill says, is more space for passengers’ feet, without the airline being forced to sacrifice space or reduce the number of passengers.

The idea is still in its infancy, though O’Neill says it has identified a mechanical partner – and has spoken to four major airlines, including US airline Delta, although there are no fixed commitments at the moment.

He presented the idea to airline executives at the Airline Interiors Expo 2019 exhibition in Hamburg, Germany – and said he had received valuable feedback on how to make the seat a viable option for the mid-range airline market.

The next step is to pass the product through the required security tests, which could be a three-year process.

New aviation opportunities

Of course, a question mark is currently hanging over the future of aviation, without anyone knowing what the flight will look like in the coming months, let alone years.

Most likely, there will be a greater demand for social distance, both from passengers and from airlines – recent flights have shown that current flight regulations make it difficult.

O’Neill believes the new aerial landscape matches his vision for the Zephyr Seat.

Zephyr seat (2)

Designer Jeff O’Neill believes the seat will allow Premium Economy travelers to sleep better.

Gentle offer Zephyr Aerospace

The increased privacy offered by the seat, he says, could reassure travelers demanding social distances. That said, the idea, like other ongoing ideas, does not fully address the issue of aircraft proximity and potential Covid hazard.

O’Neill also points to a future where there may be fewer scheduled flights and those that operate could be more crowded and more expensive – something we’re already seeing happen.

“The price for a professional or first-class position will be out of range for probably about 85% of all travelers, which means a more affordable option may become a reality or be considered for many of these people,” he says. .

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