Boeing reveals proposal to create space-equalizing airline seats

Business class comes in all shapes and sizes.

In Dubai, Emirates passengers have the supercomfy Airbus A380 business cabin, with seats from the main deck top down for those who want a little more space.

On the other end of the experience spectrum is Korean Airline, who offers an economy class cabin in leather seats in front of a captain. The luxurious seating has a small partition that separates the foot of the seats from the stall.

And Emirates, which has a total of over 1,400 Airbus and Boeing A380s, has also been implementing coach seating on several flights, adding 60 new economy seats on A380 flights to Sao Paulo, Amsterdam and many others.

Now Boeing has released an innovation report that revealed it will be possible for airlines to have a “space-equalizing bodyboard” layout in 2025. The report states that a significant shift in airplanes will be becoming three different types of seating, with three distinctly different seat and seatback configurations.

This will include business, first and premium economy seats on airline airplanes. Business class travelers will have the option of a more spacious and comfortable seat than before, while the new Premium Economy seats will be about 30 percent bigger than the current seats. There will be three other seating designs, all similar to the current economy cabin, but with a personal seat back for you and a smaller ledge to rest on while crossing your legs.

The whole idea is a way to help people avoid leg and back pain during long flights.

“The seat breakback has helped to create a permanent gap between the shoulders and the seat so as to eliminate fatigue,” said Michael Freitag, Boeing’s vice president of airplane seating solutions, in a statement. “Passengers will be able to rest their shoulders away from their knees, thereby reducing the risk of a leg cramp and maintaining better posture while they are watching their favorite movie or being distracted by others.”

Boeing has also released a the new technology to mimic bodyboards, meaning that passengers can transfer to the next plane without touching the seat backs. The company is working with Uniplan, a Japanese company that has developed human posture-aligning technology that allows passengers to sit in the seat as they’re strapped in while the system detects their center of gravity and adjusts accordingly.

The technology is currently undergoing further testing and awaits regulatory approval, but is expected to roll out in some planes by 2022.

Of course, Boeing doesn’t just want to give passengers a better seat. In 2025, it also wants to make life easier for cabin crew. The goal is to develop jet non-stick, heat-resistant surfaces on the airline seats, which would also help with monitoring live flight sensors. Crew members can operate the jet safely by monitoring the level of heat on the seats.

Other areas of focus for Boeing will include helping pilots relieve themselves when needed, or working out how to support refugees and displaced travelers who would be adversely affected by a rough landing.

Additionally, in 2025 airlines will have the ability to control the temperature of the plane. Passengers on the ground may be able to adjust the cabin temperature from being too hot to too cold.

The “space-equalizing bodyboard” seat fits on a wide variety of planes with varying wingspans and weight, Boeing claims. Boeing is also working on a 60-inch tall, 11-inch wide seat that would sit over the cockpit, and more sizes and shapes will be offered to passengers by 2025.

“We want to take things to the next level, to create innovation in aircraft seats by creating a more comfortable experience for everyone,” Freitag said.

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