A novel aircraft seating layout described as a “radical solution” to economy-class travel will be unveiled at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo 2007 to be held at Hamburg on 17-19 April.
The Freedom concept, hatched by Premium Aircraft Interior Group, creates an additional column of seats by positioning passengers in opposite directions. According to Premium, the design, “enables their shoulders to overlap, minimising the width of an armrest between each occupant”.
“We set out to humanise long-haul economy air travel and at the same time have created an entirely new seating configuration with a striking cabin aesthetic”, says Ian Dryburgh, head of Acumen Design Associates, which together with Premium make up the ‘twoHB’ partnership which designed the Freedom system.
'I have Asperger's syndrome, and sitting next to a stranger bothers me. Sitting by someone I don’t know in that seating arrangement? I'd have a full-blown panic attack. How can anyone think that's a good idea!?'
'Oh dear God NOOOOOOO..... have they no understanding whatsoever of personal privacy?
Why the HELL do they call it the 'Freedom' concept? Freedom to do what? From what? It's awful! Compulsory physical proximity with the added 'freedom' of being face-to-face with a total stranger for the duration of the flight?
Bad enough nowadays that we're packed in like ill-smelling sardines, shoulder pressing against shoulder, but at least we can rest our eyes on the seatback in front, we don't have to interact with our fellow passengers or chat with them while enduring the foul air and awful noise of a cheap flight.
Haven't the designers the slightest concept of sightlines? It'll be sitting knee-to-knee with a total stranger LOOKING at us for hours on end. No feeling of space, complete intrusion into what little 'personal bubble' one can achieve on a flight, and of course the social affect of such enforced proximity WILL be the compulsion in others to talk... and we'll be completely unable to relax, knowing that That Person Opposite is able to watch our smallest movement.
What an outrageous idea. Complete visual intrusion as well as sardine-packing.
I'm only very mildly Aspergers and would find it torture - I'd spend the entire flight longing for a screen, veil, SOMETHING to stop that stranger being able to gaze at my face for hours.
I'm 53 and have flown the world around 10 times on long-haul, medium-haul, and short-haul flights since I was eight years old. I've experienced just about every degree of comfort/torture yet devised by airlines. This, though, appalls me more than anything else I've ever endured.'
This seating arrangement works wonderfully in British Airways’ club world class and I’ve always wondered why they couldn’t apply it to economy. Have any of you people actually sat in the middle seat on a long haul flight? As for visual sightlines, do you actually prefer someone sitting next to you able to look at anything you are reading and rubbing their shoulders against you the entire flight? Set up a couple of chairs like this in your home and see what you think, you may be surprised at how much extra comfort it provides.
Gary Gastelu, New York
I've got to say that this is the worst idea I've seen for airlines in a while. Why would anybody think this is a good idea? The first time somebody coughed/sneezed on me, I would be pulling the emergency exit handle.
I think it might be a good idea for the designers to build a couple of rows of this seating and then sit in the middle with complete strangers from a train station in the other seats for 8 hours straight. If they still think it's a good idea, then they need to sit longer.
Scott in North Carolina
Freedom? Freedom to squeeze more money out of the flight since the concept "creates an additional column of seats", so presumably the flight would take more passengers. So, because the seats can be more tightly packed this way (enabling the passengers shoulders to overlap) I will have someone's elbows on my lap now. Wonderful. I can just imagine the neighbor sticking his/her elbow in my food tray. Oh, and flight attendants must be trilled to see something like this too, the food distribution will be even more exciting with this seat arrangement.
After just getting back from travelling for 22 hours each way with a three year old I wonder how it would work, though it would be great if instead they thought of a play area for the kids. Know that would be a delight, all would really benefit from that one.
I don't know. It could work if the designers could incorporate a small screen that could be extended between the headrests, effectively blocking off the line of sight between passengers next to each other. But I don't really see what is gained with this design.
As I estimate that only half the passengers would remain on the aircraft by the time it reaches its destination, this idea could also be considered as a potential weight and fuel saving.
Larry Marshall, Israel