You asked for more legroom. The monkey's paw curled.
As greedy airlines have continued to shrink the legroom for economy fliers, one 23-year-old designer named Alejandro Núñez Vicente thinks he has the best solution for everyone involved: double-decker airliner seating.
Núñez Vicente calls his innovation the Chaise Lounge Economy Seat, and its stacked design allows passengers on the bottom row to fully extend their legs. In turn, the top row gets to more or less fully recline. Seats on the lower row can also fold for greater accessibility.
There's just a few pretty big caveats, though, as we pointed out last time Núñez Vicente's concept made the rounds. As many a jokester has pointed out, the arrangement means the top passenger's buttocks will be directly leveled at unfortunate travelers in the bottom row, so you better hope they don't pass any gas.
But in a recent interview with USA Today, Núñez Vicente deftly assuaged those fart fears.
To directly quote the outlet, emphasis ours: "'The idea is that there will be some kind of restraint here,' [Núñez Vicente] said, pointing to the partition behind the upper level of seats. If a passenger passed gas 'it wouldn't go straight through,' unless it were especially forceful."
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 7, 2023
Almost Award Winning
This is apparently the stuff that gets you a nod from the aviation industry, with Núñez Vicente's design earning a nomination in the 2021 Crystal Cabin Awards.
There are some other drawbacks other than the Chaise Lounge's dystopian appearance, and indeed, fart facing set-up. Its added height means that overhead storage compartments are a no-go, ergo less room to store things. So that added legroom? It might just be eaten up by baggage.
Plus, while bottom row passengers get easier access, top row fliers will have to sacrifice their own accessibility, requiring two big steps to climb up.
To be fair though, Núñez Vicente maintains that he envisions only one side of the plane being taken up by the Chaise Lounge, and the other side keeping a normal seating arrangement, offering, in his mind, the best of both worlds.
Those tradeoffs aside, Núñez Vicente says his design will appeal to airlines because of its efficient use of space. For airlines whose bottom line is a higher headcount without needing a larger plane, it could be just the solution that no one asked for.
Still, while the young designer maintains he has several interested parties, he doesn't actually have any buyers yet.
There might be a few good reasons for that. Double decker seats could be a nightmare to get through Federal Aviation Administration regulations, not to mention adding more weight to already-laden jetliners. And, really, who knows how safe the design might be?
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