Airline passengers may be buckling up to new physical distancing measures in the post-coronavirus era — through novel seat configurations that prevent the spread of bugs, according to a report.
Italian manufacturer Aviointeriors has created concepts for two airline seats – Glassafe, which features transparent cocoons, and Janus, in which the seats alternate facing forward and backward with shields in between, Forbes reported.
“‘Glassafe’ is made of transparent material to make the entire cabin harmonious and aesthetically light, but perfectly fulfilling the objective of creating an isolated volume around the passenger in order to avoid or minimize contacts and interactions via air between passenger and passenger,” Aviointeriors said in a statement.
Airlines could opt to install the hoods on seats rather than maintain physical distancing measures with empty seats, assuming that regulators approve the concept.
“‘Glassafe’ is supplied in various executions with fixing systems to the seat that allow easy installation and removal. The shield is shaped in such a way as to leave complete accessibility to the accessories normally installed on the back, such as tables, magazine pockets, coat hooks or other,” the firm said.
“‘Glassafe’ can be supplied in opaque material or with different degrees of transparency, all easy cleaning,” it added.
Janus, which takes its inspiration from the two-faced Roman god, “allows all three passengers to be separated with a shield made of transparent material that isolates them from each other, creating a protective barrier for everyone,” Aviointeriors explained.
“Each passenger has their own space isolated from others, even from people who walk through the aisle,” it added.
The forward-aft configuration raises questions as to whether it would hinder flight attendants while serving meals or create difficulty during an emergency evacuation, but greater row separation could address these issues and also provide passengers with more legroom.
The company has already patented both of the seat proposals and said it is ready to go into production, though it remains to be seen how carriers will reach a uniform agreement with various regulators on service requirements.