A new prototype of a double-decker plane seat has been unveiled, after previous images sparked furious online debate.
The Chaise Longue Economy Seat project by aircraft seat designer Alejandro Núñez Vicente first went viral last year.
At the time it was described as a “nightmare vision”, with one social media user commenting: “as if being on a plane isn’t miserable enough already.” Meanwhile, another person tweeted in response to the idea: “fresh hell just dropped.”
This week, the latest prototype for the double-decker seat is being shown to airline industry executives at the 2023 Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.
The double-decker design comprises two slanted layers of seating, configured diagonally on top of one another. This would also eradicate the need for overhead storage lockers, as luggage could be kept between the top and bottom rows.
Describing the initial backlash, Mr Núñez Vicente told CNN Travel yesterday: “To be honest, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
Mr Núñez Vicente started working on the project at college in 2021 and has now secured sponsorship and partnership deals.
The designer – who is 6ft 2in – aims to create more legroom in aircraft cabins and wants to provide a unique seating solution. Describing the debate, he says: “People can talk and they always hate innovation in some ways.”
Although he has admitted that “many airlines and many big players of the industry are trying to push us to put more passengers into the aircraft,” Mr Núñez Vicente emphasises that is “not our main priority and our main goal, but with this kind of design it’s also possible.”
When asked how long it could be before the seats are seen in an aircraft, Mr Núñez Vicente said: “With the attraction that we’re having and with the response from the public and the sector, I think it will be close to two years, two years and a half.”
Twitter users have again responded to the double-decker seat idea online.
“Double decker plane seats… eh no,” one person tweeted yesterday, adding: “if the woman behind kicks the seat she’ll be booting the woman in the back of the neck.”
Mr Núñez Vicente hopes people will be open to trying the seat in person, and a collaboration with virtual reality company 3DSeatMap VR means metaverse users can sample it too.
“We do try to adapt to every single constructive feedback that we get,” the designer said.
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