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Airline Seat Designed to Allow Economy Passengers to Lie Down and Sleep

Zephyr Seat Lie Down Economy Seats

For years, passengers have been complaining about the tight quarters when flying economy. But now, more than ever, there's a need to rethink standard seating in the face of social distancing. Luckily, one man has already spent the past few years devising a way to give economy passengers the ride that they deserve.

Designer Jeffrey O'Neill first contemplated tackling airline seating while flying from New York to Singapore. He wondered why it wasn't possible to devise a way for people to lie down and enjoy some sleep during the long-haul flight.

“I'm on probably the best rated airline in the world, and I'm getting wonderful service and the food is edible, but I can't sleep,” he shared. “This is really uncomfortable. Why is it so difficult to find an affordable way to lie flat on a flight that's 19 hours?”

After thinking about comfortable bus rides he'd taken in Argentina, where bunk beds were used, he came up with a plan. Real estate on planes is valuable, which is why most airlines don't want to reconfigure their seating. But through his company Zephyr Aerospace, he devised a double-decker 2-4-2 seating arrangement that won't cost airlines any seats. And, as luck would have it, the design also provides increased privacy and isolation—something travelers are looking for now.

Double Decker Airplane Seating

The Zephyr Seat allows passengers to stretch their legs, lounge, or lie down. By using the space between an existing seat and the overhead locker, O'Neill was able to accommodate a whole other layer of seats. And, best of all, the design can be retrofitted to most cabins—a great incentive for airlines to make the switch.

“We basically retrofitted a whole other seat on top of another,” shares O'Neill. “So it's essentially two levels, it's not as tall off the ground as people might imagine, it's only four and a half feet off the ground from the entry point to the lower seat to the upper seat.”

O'Neill has spent the last two years taking the Zephyr Seat from concept to a mock-up and has already found an engineering partner. He first presented his design to the aviation industry at the 2019 Airline Interiors Expo in Germany and used feedback from airlines to then tweak the product. While he's been in talks with several major airlines, nothing is concrete yet. However, with the coronavirus sure to change the way we travel, it wouldn't be surprising if his phone starts ringing off the hook.

For things to move forward, the Zephyr Seat will now need to pass safety tests. These could take about three years, so we're still a ways off from being able to fly economy in style. If you believe in the product and are interested in getting involved, the U.S.-based startup is currently accepting investors.

Zephyr Seat is a double-decker airplane seat design that would allow economy passengers a range of options.

Comfortable Economy Seating by Zephyr AerospaceSocially Distanced Airplane Seat by Zephyr AerospaceComfortable Economy Seating by Zephyr Aerospace

Travelers can sit, lounge, or stretch out for a snooze during long-haul flights.

Zephyr Seat Lie Down Economy SeatsPassenger Lying Down and Sleeping During Flight

With a 2-4-2 configuration, airlines won't miss out on any of the plane's valuable real estate.

Seating Configuration Using Zephyr Seats on Airplane

Learn more about this innovative design that allows for socially-distanced travel.

Zephyr Seat: Website | Facebook | InstagramYouTube
h/t: [CNN, designboom]

All images via Zephyr Seat.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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