This New Seating Design Could Be The Future of Flying

Kelly Corbett
Photo credit: Instagram

From House Beautiful

It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken a toll on the aviation industry. In fact, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz pegged COVID-19 as "the most disruptive crisis in the history of aviation,” according to MarketWatch. Not only are fewer people booking flights, but U.S. airlines are now legally required to give full refunds on flights canceled or delayed due to coronavirus. While it’s a win for us, it another hit for airlines alike.

Last week, a handful of major airlines announced that they would now require passengers to wear face-coverings on flights. While this will definitely help, is it enough to keep passengers safe? The reality of the situation is that we can’t avoid airplanes forever, but for passengers to feel safe in flight, airlines are going to have to make some changes. One design firm may have a solution on how to rearrange a plane’s seating to minimize passenger’s exposure to each other.

Last month Avio Interiors, based in Italy, posted a picture to its Instagram account proposing its "Janus" design, which was inspired by the two-faced god of Ancient Rome. This design model reworks the traditional three-seater model by reversing the direction of the middle passenger's seat. While the aisle and window seats will remain forward-facing, a transparent shield will further barricade passengers from each other, creating a personal space for each flyer. This shield will help to "prevent the breath propagation to occupants of adjacent seats,” the firm wrote. It would also extend to the aisle seat to help keep passengers isolated from those walking by. In addition, these seats would be made of easy-to-clean materials to make cleanings more efficient.



Instagram users were quick to criticize the design in the comments, pointing out how passengers would now be facing flyers in other rows, as well as how takeoff and landing might feel for a passenger who isn’t facing forward. Right now, this is only a proposal and Avio Interiors has not started manufacturing or selling these seats.

The company also shared another prototype to Instagram called "Glassafe." Instead of installing entirely new seats on a plane, this shielding would act as an add-on to existing seats. Much like the barriers in "Janus" model, "Glassafe" would help minimize contact between passengers, without the reversal of any seats. The design was also met with criticism in the comment section as users pointed out that passengers will still be breathing the same air.

While Avio's designs did not fare well on social media, it doesn't mean they're off the table just yet—each airline will have to draw its own plan up on proceed. Either way, these models opened users eyes to the idea that flying might not ever be the same until there is a COVID-19 vaccine and more access to testing.

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