You've most likely been crammed into a full airplane, desperately trying to grab some shut-eye on the 12-hour flight but to no avail. Your neighbor's elbow is jabbing into your ribs, the seat in front of you has reclined so far back your knees are in pain, and there's really very little chance of sleeping seated in such a way.
Well, thanks to the startup company, Zephyr Aerospace, those days might be gone someday soon! Zephyr proposes a double-decker seating option that fits on most Boeing and Airbus planes and allows passengers to lie fully flat.
The only point to mention is that it would be for Premium Economy Class travelers. But that still makes is way more affordable than having to pay thousands for a Business Class seat!
Fully reconfigured cabins
The Zephyr seat design would not only provide a fully flat option but also more privacy and space for travelers without minimizing the number of seats available in the cabin. The formation would remain 2-4-2 and would fit into the majority of global airlines' planes.
The idea came to Jeffrey O'Neill, founder and CEO of Zephyr Aerospace, when he was seated in premium economy and unable to sleep on what was then the world's longest commercial flight out of Singapore.
"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 remembered. "This is really uncomfortable. Why is it so difficult to find an affordable way to lie flat on a flight that's 19 hours?"
Then O'Neill recalled a long bus ride he'd taken in Argentina where the seats were placed in a double-decker formation — and on which he was able to sleep even though he had paid much less for his ticket.
"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."
End result: more legroom, and the airline doesn't lose any seats.
Currently, the Zephyr seat is in its mockup stage. O'Neill is in discussions with four major airlines, including Delta. However, you'll have to wait and see for the end result before pulling your credit card out to purchase a cozy premium economy seat.