An aircraft are often tight again. European airlines have long since moved away from the idea of keeping the middle seat free for cost reasons (exception: Condor in Business Class), while US airlines such as Delta, United Airlines or Jetblue will do this automatically until the beginning of 2021. Keeping your distance is and will remain a tricky one in an aircraft cabin, especially in economy class. But there are new solutions.
Distance despite being close in the plane
The Italian design office Aviointeriors from Naples, for example, designed airplane seats to ensure social distancing during and after the Corona crisis. According to the motto: distance with decency, distance despite closeness.
The new middle seat “Janus” can easily be turned. While the side seats are positioned in the direction of flight as usual, it points to the rear. In addition, the passengers are separated from each other by a transparent Plexiglas panel. So everyone has their own space that is isolated from others, and this applies even to people walking down the aisle.
Aviointeriors says that the airlines are very interested. The Italian seat manufacturers have also developed a retrofittable “Glassafe”: a transparent hood that is open towards the front and is attached to the backrests of existing seats.
The French seat manufacturer Safran Seats together with the British company Universal Movement wants to bring a retrofittable “Interspace” set for economy class onto the market in autumn. It offers padded, head-high side parts that can be easily folded out of the backrest.
They provide more spatial separation, but also for more sleeping comfort: You can lean your head to the side and fall asleep without having to worry about waking up on the neighbor’s shoulder.
Sleep in a bunk bed when flying
Flying lying down would be the more convenient option, even in Economy Class. Air New Zealand is researching in this direction. The New Zealand airline is developing bunk beds in economy class, but these will not be ready for the market until 2022 at the earliest. A first prototype was presented in 2020.
The V-shaped capsule called „Skynest“ has six beds, three of which are arranged one above the other. They are quite narrow: about two meters long, almost 60 centimeters wide. There are blankets, pillows and curtains for this. The bunks look almost like so-called pod hotels, which already exist at many airports.
Dutch developers are also relying on the same idea. Students of Industrial Design Engineering at the Technical University of Delft have designed foldable bunk beds for the Ecomomy Class, which are converted into rows of seats during take-off and landing.
The narrow beds are more reminiscent of stackable Ikea shelves with youth hostel charm. Your feasible concept was awarded the “Crystal Cabin Award 2020” design prize.
A start-up with the name Zephyr Aerospace has even developed double bunk beds. The passengers climb five steps. These seats are L-shaped: they offer the option of sleeping on the long side and sitting on the short side.
If you take a closer look, this idea of bunk beds on the plane is not new: the former Swiss airline Swissair had already installed bunk beds in some DC-6B aircraft in the 1950s, which at that time were only reserved for first-class guests were.
Engineers from Dubai Aviation meanwhile, we are working on the retractable cabin, which can be exchanged in any modular fashion, as is known from shipbuilding. This would make it possible to install entire rooms, such as private suites, restaurants and spas, during the ground handling of the aircraft. There are also comfortable double beds like in a hotel.
A bed for back pain in the hotel
The Swedish manufacturer YouBed is now marketing its customizable bed worldwide. The demand has increased enormously because many hoteliers are using the Corona crisis to redesign their rooms. According to the company, it is the only hotel bed that offers a variable degree of firmness.
Personal preferences are easily set by remote control – on each page. So that there is no argument in the double bed. The areas for shoulder, back and hips can also be finely adjusted against back pain.
The manufacturer calls its mattress “a bed for every back”. Many hotels have now been fitted out in Sweden, and 2000 hotels throughout Europe and Asia, including those of the Mövenpick, First and Scandic hotel groups.
Individual hoteliers also have smart ideas. Ben Förtsch, for example, runs the first climate-positive hotel in Germany, the “Creativhotel Luise” in Erlangen. He has had the renewable hotel room patented and continues to work on sustainable improvements. The ceilings are made of straw construction panels, the carpet tiles are made of fishing nets and the mattresses of the beds are made of natural materials such as rubber, coconut fibers and algae.
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