Air travelers tolerate increasingly cramped spaces, disrupted sleep, inconvenienced neighbors, and heavily regulated movement as necessary evils. Any excitement about an exhilarating destination is diminished by the anticipation that one has to “recover” from a flight. Furthermore, standard seating layouts may even be a safety hazard for passengers in an emergency. It’s one thing to expect to recover from a flight; it’s another to recover from a crash.
In a recent New York Times article, prominent voices in the industry expressed safety concerns introduced by shrinking seat size on aircrafts. Henry Harteveldt, an airline and travel industry analyst and cofounder of the Atmosphere Research Group, described the situation: “[P]eople who run airline revenue departments … want more seats on planes” but face opposition from “people in the airlines’ marketing departments who are trying to act as their passengers’ advocates.” He added, “There may be a legitimate issue around safety.” In response to disgruntled passengers and safety concerns, IpVenture, a Silicon Valley company known for its innovative technology, has created technology (patent allowed) that provides spacious—safe—economy class seating while maintaining the number of seats available on a flight.
In IpVenture’s solution, passengers stay safe and relaxed, and airlines don’t lose seats. By making use of the space above the seats, IpVenture’s solution adopts a bi-level staggered-seat approach, as illustrated.
This innovative layout enhances safety by increasing each passenger’s space: passengers in interior seats can reach the aisle without requiring surrounding passengers to move. For the lower level, window seats can slide backward, allowing passengers to move behind seats even when the aisle seats are in a reclining position. For the upper level, all passengers have room to walk to the aisle from the front of their seats. Planes can be evacuated in an orderly fashion, providing passengers with significantly more space to maneuver.
Confining passengers to suffocating spaces is more than an unpopular trend for the airlines industry—it is a hazardous one. Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at Teal Group, confirmed: “There are two goals with seats: to squeeze in more people and to make the plane lighter.” Unfortunately, this is delivered at the cost of safety for the passengers. IpVenture’s technology, if implemented, delivers rested passengers to their intended destinations. The only thing passengers should recover from is their excitement.