Could This (Actually) Be the Future of Economy Seating?

Could This (Actually) Be the Future of Economy Seating?

Benjamin Hubert and his UK design agency Layer has released Move, an airplane seating concept for Airbus that provides a more optimistic view of what the future of flying economy could be.

Everyone loves the idea of getting away, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that flying and all that goes along with it (clearing long security lines, struggling to fit carry-ons into overhead bins, dealing with scant leg room) is becoming less and less appealing. And some are predicting that traveling by plane – especially if you can only afford economy – is only going to get worse.

Which is why it’s refreshing to see the new Move prototype by Benjamin Hubert’s Layer studio for Airbus. Rethinking the flying experience for short to mid-haul journeys, the seating system couples smart, lightweight textiles to a mobile app that encourages customers to move around, stretch their legs and even enjoy a massage.

Suspended over a composite seat structure, the polyester-wool knitted sling seat features zones of various density to offer a range of support all over the body and integrates conductive yarn and a series of sensors. These sensors communicate with the Move app, which adjusts the zones according to passenger weight, size and movement to “maintain optimal ergonomic comfort.” It also prompts customers to move around, to do in-seat stretches, to stay hydrated, and it allows for the seat to be activated into “massage”, “mealtime”, or “sleep” modes. Finally, it would even notify passengers if they have left behind their personal mobile device. 

The seat frame is crafted from aircraft-grade aluminium and carbon fibre, and together with the lightweight upholstery reduces the overall aircraft weight, which impacts the flight’s fuel load. The seat position is fixed to address the leg room range issue, and each seat back has a central island, containing a tray table, optional full inflight entertainment system, and a small pocket for storage of personal items and small digital devices.

We are hopeful that Move, or something like it, will one day be implemented on Airbus aircraft. Ideas to increase passenger comfort and to reduce flying’s ecological footprint are welcome improvements.

Images shown with the consent of Airbus

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