Photo: Aviointeriors

Innovative New Airplane Seat Designs Will Accommodate Social Distancing

News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Apr 24, 2020

Everyone is looking forward to their next trip — however far in the future that might be — but when people do begin booking flights again, the way we travel will likely be different. Part of that means airplanes themselves changing to accommodate essential social distancing measures. Aviointeriors, an Italian aviation design firm, has proposed two concepts for what airplane seats might look like in the era of social distancing, to keep passengers safe.

The first concept, called the “Janus,” is a two-faced seat that would allow three passengers in a row to be separated by transparent shields. Aisle and window seat passengers would face forward, while middle seat passengers would face backward. The safety shield would theoretically protect passengers from airborne germs when one sneezes, coughs, or “speak moistly,” and be easy to clean.

According to a statement by Aviointeriors, “Like two-faced Janus, the god of Ancient Rome, this proposal is distinguished by the reverse position of the center seat of the triple to ensure the maximum isolation between passengers seated next to each other. While passengers seated on the side seats, aisle and fuselage, continue to be positioned in the flight direction as usual, the passenger sitting in the center is facing backward […] This arrangement allows all three passengers to be separated with a shield made of transparent material that isolates them from each other, creating a protective barrier for everyone. Each passenger has its own space isolated from others, even from people who walk through the aisle.”

The second design is called “Glassafe,” and doesn’t require any actual changes to the plane’s interior. In this concept, transparent shields would be installed directly between existing seats.

Patent applications have been filed for both designs.

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