Double-Decker Seats May Soon Revolutionize Economy Class Flights


  • A new airline seat is being developed that aims to revamp traditional economy air travel.
  • The Zephyr seat offers passengers greater privacy.
  • It also allows travelers to to lie flat, without reducing numbers.

For travelers who want extra comfort, premium economy offers only a little more legroom and doesn’t really allow any space for passengers to lie down. 

If you’re taking a long flight, it’s currently be found without costing significantly more money. To solve this issue, innovators are working on building a new two-story airplane seat.

The Zephyr seat isn’t yet certified by the FAA or any other safety organization, according to Forbes

It also has different ways of fitting into wide-body aircraft. Though it doesn’t currently fit into long-distance narrow-bodied airplanes,  its innovative use of space and the opportunity for passengers to be able to both sit and lie down in economy make modifying the seat worth considering.

“In many ways, the Zephyr seat is the first of its kind. From the perspective of a traveler, the seat offers what we all want from our long-haul inflight experience — the ability to stretch out and sleep in a private space without paying the added cost of business or first class,” the company said.

According to Jeffery O’Neill, Zephyr’s creator, an aircraft’s capacity could increase or decrease due to the seats. The company claims the current seat design occupies the same physical space as the premium economy seats on most wide-body aircraft. 

If these seats are used to replace standard economy class, some capacity would be lost, as there isn’t enough room in economy cabins. 

However, if these seats are used to replace part or all of an existing business class cabin, capacity could increase.

Since Zephyr seats use the space where overhead compartments are normally located, regulators will need to be sure that passengers can evacuate in an emergency, and that those in the overhead bunks are not inconvenienced. 

The seats will also need testing to ensure passengers can evacuate from a lying position in both the lower and upper seats, and not just from the seated position. 

Aircraft cabins are cramped spaces and airlines have learned that adding seats reduces fares and increases overall revenue. 

In most cases, this has meant a continued downsizing of economy seats, using seats with thinner backs and limited or no ability to recline, while maintaining “lie-flat” seating for those willing to pay for business class on long flights. 

This new seating concept, which utilizes previously overlooked space for passengers, allows for a solution where the passenger can remain seated to eat, read, or watch a movie. 



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