Thursday, May 3, 2007

Backwards to the future seats?

Everyone dreads the middle seat on a plane. But the experience on a long haul flight may never the same again. Britian's PAIG (Premium Aircraft Interiors Group) has introduced the Freedom Economy Seat, a three-seat row that flips the middle one backwards. The four-seat configuration has the two middle seats facing backwards.

Introduced in a trade show in Germany this year, these seats try to eliminate the current problems passengers experience with present day configurations. These include bumping elbows, knees and shoulders. PAIG claims these seats also give the passenger two more inches of legroom.

PAIG also claims that these seats will allow the airlines to add more seats to a plane. For example on a typical 777 econcomy configuration, there are nine seats across. Freedom Seats will allow airlines to have ten seats across.

The main question is how passengers will feel about a stranger staring back at them two feet away. Think of someone standing in the elevator facing away from the doors. The seats feature fold-out privacy shields built into the head rests for privacy so another passenger can't watch what you're watching on your laptop screen.

So will airlines add these seats for the economic (more seats) or passenger benefit. The idea is not actually that unusual. British Airways has some seats facing backwards. But these seats are featured in their Club World business class section.

These seats are designed for wide-body jets. PAIG has indicated that these seats will not work in a narrow-body economy section such as on a 737.

Source: Gannett


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