Airplane seat could provide a solution for physical distancing on flights

Jun 10 2020, 10:24 pm

As the idea of travel becomes less daunting and more flights become available, many travellers are curious about what procedures will be put in place not just on the ground but also in the air to preserve their health and safety during the pandemic.

Safran Seats, an industry leader in creating aircraft passenger and crew seats, and Universal Movement, a subsidiary of London-based design company New Territory, have joined forces to develop a new twist on an already existing product called “Interspace.” All in the name of easing the minds of economy passengers.

“Interspace” is a seat design with an innovative solution for discomfort in airline cabins. The product features “padded wings” that fold out from behind both sides of the seat, providing privacy for passengers as well as something to lean against and rest their heads.

The concept first appeared in London as part of the Aircraft Cabin Innovation summit in 2019.


Interspace Lite (Universal Movement)

Now, Universal Movement is providing Safran Seats with the Interspace portfolio, allowing it to adjust and adapt a new creation called “Interspace Lite.” This new product provides airlines with the flexibility to simply retrofit their economy class cabins without paying the big bucks.

“Interspace Lite” works by creating a boundary and increasing privacy between passengers by blocking either the center or outboard seats of the row.

“Safran Seats is confident that this partnership with Universal Movement will generate value to our customers thanks to its recognized agility and innovative spirit,” Quentin Munier, executive vice president of strategy innovation at Safran Seats, said in a statement on the company’s website. “Interspace is a great innovation for [the] privacy of passengers, even more so in the post-COVID-19 travel environment that’s ahead of us.”

airplane seat distancing

Interspace Lite (Universal Movement)

Safran Seats has also developed its own broad set of patented products under the title of Travel Safe by Safron Seats, all of which serve three primary purposes: social distancing without loss of density, touchless interactions, and virus-free surfaces.

Travel Safe features a variety of equipment, including “Ringfence,” a removable barrier that creates a divide between individuals, thus isolating passengers in their own seats.

The company has also developed “touchless interactive equipment,” such as a touchless door mechanism and a pedal-activated backrest recline.

Safran Seats is also leading a new initiative called Create with Safran Seats, which serves to specially conceptualize, create, and discuss new solutions for airlines.

Ringfence (Safran Seats)

“This offer will lead to customized seats adapted to the post-COVID-19 travel context,” the company’s website explains.

Multiple companies have come out with their own creative concepts for airplane seats to protect passengers from the transmission of coronavirus.

French aeronautical engineer, Florian Barjot, debuted his idea in May for a new plane seat that could assist in enabling passengers to physically distance. His product, called PlanBay, comes in the form of a removable kit for unused seats in economy class that can install a protection panel behind the seat with an additional panel in between adjoining seats.

PlanBay is designed to fit onto an empty middle seat to ensure that passengers seated in aisle and window seats can appropriately physically distance from one another.

Similarly, Aviointeriors, an Italian manufacturer of airline seats, has created two products to provide passengers with more personal space. The first solution, called “Glasssafe,” is also a kit solution that can be temporarily installed on seats.

The second product called the “Janus Seat” features the unique reverted positioning of the middle seat in a row of three to ensure optimal isolation between passengers even when they are sitting next to each other.

Emily RumballEmily Rumball

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