Tags: future | airline | seating | room

The Future of Airline Seating? Mesh Design Gives Fliers More Room

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 03:01 PM

By Megan Anderle

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Peeved by eight-hour flights in economy class during which he had little personal space, an engineering student in Malaysia has a solution that makes economy feel like first class.

Alireza Yaghoubi, an undergraduate at University of Malaya, came up with AirGo, a model for economy class that gives each passenger a minimum of more personal space that other passengers can't intrude on when they recline or open table trays, ABC News reported.

AirGo is made of flexible, but strong nylon mesh that takes the shape of a passenger's body to ensure comfort and reduce space from bulky cushions. A seat's tray and personal viewing screen float above each passenger in a hand luggage locker. A set of three motors in each chair allows passengers to vary reclining to fit their postures, the Daily Mail reported.

Yaghoubi's model calls for a 41-inch seat pitch, which is the area from the back of a seat to the back of the seat in front of it. Currently, airplane seat pitches are 31 inches.

Yaghoubi conceived of AirGo, which was named for its similarity to the word "ergo," as in ergonomic airline seating, when he won the James Dyson Award international student design contest in 2012.

"Compared to a normal economy class, AirGo uses only an additional 16 percent of floor space thanks to the new nylon mesh design which replaces the bulky cushions in current seats," Yaghoubi said. "They are cheap, durable, recyclable, and more comfortable, yet they are considerably thinner."

The additional 16 percent of floor space would equate to 16 fewer seats, but Yaghoubi said he has a solution for the loss in profit: The same way Apple makes money selling applications to iPhones and iPads, airlines could use the bigger personal viewing screens to sell a multitude of "extras."

"The big screen for example can be used to encourage passengers to purchase a few dollar applications, movies, songs, games and books that could be used on their other devices elsewhere through cloud syncing." Yaghoubi said. "They can video chat with others and call home for small rates or they can choose to take part in surveys or watch advertisements to use these services free of charge. They can connect to the local network and play matches against other passengers. The possibilities are just countless."

Related stories:

Rockefeller: Airline Merger Could Hurt Consumers

American, US Airways Announce $11 Billion Merger, Create World's Biggest Airline

Airline: We Didn’t Serve Alcohol to Sen. Rand Paul’s Son

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