One company thinks it has the perfect solution to uncomfortable economy class travel: adjustable seat bottoms. Will this radical idea change the game for economy travelers around the world?
California-based company Satterfield Aerospace thinks it has the perfect solution to the often miserable experience of traveling coach. Anyone who’s been on a long flight with an economy class ticket knows that seat comfort is not top of mind for airplane designers and airlines. Should you have long legs or be a bit more on the tall side? It’s no fun, all day.
Airlines typically try to squeeze as many seats as they can on the plane in an effort to drive more revenue per flight. This means that the amount of space between seats is small, and the amount of recline is, well, poor.
Satterfield met with aviation news organization Runway Girl Network who was able to try a prototype of the new seat bottom option and interview senior leadership at the company. They filmed an explainer video which was shared to the Runway Girl Network’s YouTube channel (by the way, if you are not reading the RGN, you ought to be…great stuff over there).
The patent-pending idea attaches to existing seat bottoms making retrofitting easier, and can also be deployed on new seats. The premise is simple: change the pitch of the seat bottom by raising it, thus raising the buttocks of the passenger a little higher, and thereby allowing more room for the passenger to straighten their legs.
In the RNG interview with editor Marisa Garcia, John Satterfield, President of his namesake company, offered this observation, “Looking at the profile of a typical economy class seating environment, it didn’t seem like there was a whole lot needed to allow a passenger to fully extend their legs, even if for a short amount of time. That would eliminate some of the things that we see, where people are putting their legs in the aisles to try and extend their legs.”
RGN, who received a packet of information during their interview, noted that the firm claims that increased circulation and comfort can be achieved with this configuration.
The seat adjustment can be triggered manually or automatically, but the manual option appears to be the lighter one, likely making it more attractive to fuel-conscious airlines.
The idea is still in development, according to the RGN article, but is ready for manufacturing and while they don’t currently have a beta customer, they are seeing interest from Middle Eastern airlines and a few unnamed domestic airlines as well.
For our part, we rather like this idea. As someone who is 6’1″ with long legs coach is back-aching experience for me and so anything that allows me to adjust my seat a bit more is at the very least interesting. Let’s hope the trials prove successful and they get approval for widespread adoption.
Cover Image Credit: Runway Girl Network YouTube Video (arrow added for emphasis)