Soon business class travellers may enjoy a sofa-style seat
On a long-haul flight, passengers spend their time working, eating, sleeping, relaxing — and all in the same seat.
Even in the best business class situation cabin fever can set in.
That’s where Airbus’ new “Settee Corner” chair comes in, offering couch-style airplane seating, alongside all the usual business class features.
On these new seats, fliers can recline, lounge-style, just like on a couch at home. They can be joined by a travelling partner for an aperitif and to enjoy the in-flight entertainment.
And when it’s time to sleep, they just lie down on the seat, no mechanisms needed.
The idea is you relax as you would on your couch at home.
The “Settee Corner” concept was designed by Airbus in collaboration with seat manufacturer Geven.
The team based the concept on an economy class three-seater configuration — transforming this recognizable, budget option into a lightweight and luxurious business class concept.
"Airbus is promoting the 321 long range — now, the 321 is going to fly seven–to-eight hours, so we need to have the comfort in business class, a lie-flat surface, but with very competitive weight,” Amalia Martinez Martin, business line leader for tailored equipment
Martinez Martin says the seat is 30-50% lighter than a traditional business class seat. Plus, because it uses a configuration that’s already familiar to airlines, it could go from concept to reality pretty speedily.
There’s the TV screen, a spot to stow belongings, a roomy overhead locker and tray table for dining — and, of course, the additional couch-like experience.
On one end of the “settee”, there’s a seat equipped with a safety belt to use during take-off and landing. Another safety belt will be installed further down the couch for use in the sleep position.
The roomy sofa-style space is very inviting. It’s easy to imagine reclining with a book or tucking yourself under a blanket to watch a movie.
It’d also be super sociable if you were travelling with someone else.
As for sleeping, the mock-ups at AIX are the same overall length — 185 centimeters — as Airbus’s traditional business class seat.
Because the seat curves, it feels relatively private — but there’s also the option for airlines to add a curtain or screen.
There are other advantages:
“Each passenger has direct access to the aisle, each cabin crew has direct access to the passenger, easily, not like in some of the staggered configurations,” explains Martinez Martin.
Airbus also thinks it’ll be appealing to airlines who fly the same aircraft on both long-haul and short-haul flights:
“It could also be a possibility to certify the two positions for taxi, take-off, and landing,” explains Martinez Martin. That means they could use the seat for two people, as well as one person.
So what’s the feedback been like at AIX?
“Some of the airlines are crazy about it because, as I said, they are always looking for how to make a better business of their aircraft,” says Martinez Martin.
Meanwhile , prospective passengers like the variety the seat offer . “You feel like being at home in your own lounge,” says Martinez Martin.