British Airways patents unique 'sofa class' seat concept

By David Flynn, August 26 2014
British Airways patents unique 'sofa class' seat concept

If you can comfortably laze on your favourite couch at home for hours on end, why not bring that concept into the sky?

That's the thinking behind a radical airplane seat created for British Airways, which casts an oversized seat as a one-person couch where passengers can sit, sleep or spread out as they choose.

It's the innovative handiwork of London firm PriestmanGoode (company director Nigel Goode is listed on the patent as the design's inventor).

BA reckons the design is sufficiently unique to have applied for a UK patent, which is the source of these photos and diagrams.

The new design sees each passenger ensconced in a slightly curved cubicle, seated close to the window with their feet facing towards the aisle.

Passengers would adopt a forward-facing position for the taxi, take-off and landing stages of the flight.

(Note how the video screen faces the passenger so that movies can be viewed on a 'gate to gate' basis.)

Swivel around in the seat and swing out the dining table when it's time to get to work..

... or when it's time to eat.

The middle seats in this 1-2-1 arrangement can be used for shared dining if you're travelling with a friend.

This image shows a secondary location for the dining table.

An infill section of the sofa swings up to create a continuous surface between the seat and the ottoman so you can stretch out...

... or grab some shut-eye.

A draw slides out from under the ottoman where you can stow personal items such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, wallets, amenity kits and perhaps even a small purse.

So how would this 'sofa class' seat appear in the cabin of BA's most modern jets?

The patent documents show individual window seats angled towards the centre of the plane, with the two seats in the middle facing out towards the aisle.

Interestingly, BA suggests that the bulkhead facing the first row of middle seats could contain a super-sized video screen of around 40 inches (100 cm) "to provide a larger viewing screen or private cinema for the occupants of the double seat."

Seat pitch in the proposed cabin layouts varies between 42- 43 inches, while bed length is listed as 74.5 inches (1.88 metres) with a total width of 26.3 inches (66.8 cm).

As BA notes in the patent application, "there is intense competition to provide ever-greater comfort and space for aircraft passengers." And for British Airways, this could be the seat which delivers it...

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1379

Not sure about the padding in a seated position. A couch cushion for a multi-hour flight.

And no massage function.

Agreed. The cushion will get worn out very quickly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 704

In some of the images it looks as if its not a fully lie flat bed

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

The foot space look extremely small and the seat still doesn't look very comfortable if I fly ow it will still be with cx 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1193

Very innovative and stylish.  It's good to see BA following SQ and EY into unique solutions for J Class.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jan 2013

Total posts 60

IMHO it tries too hard to "look" comfortable (using a lightly framed model elegantly slumming propped up with pillows to provide support....) to detract from the fact that it's not as practical as it makes out. 

In my experience people seem to like armrests on either side - call me old fashioned.  They like a seat that has symetry and support on both sides - because our bodies are symetrical.  Wide seats, yes.  Additional cushions and pillows, yes. True lie-flat without 'curling', yes. Travelling side by side with a companion, yes.

Sorry, but this seat on the face of it fails to live up to the hype - the proof will be in the testing i guess.....

12 Mar 2014

Total posts 44

The unit would certainly save on weight, with no electric motors, wiring, switches etc..

A simple lift up flap for bed mode. 

I'm sure that model is a child with a wig. 

09 Jul 2014

Total posts 31

Goodness me, you people are never happy :)

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

Agreed @itchyfeet.

I seem to recall a recent thread with most people compaining about the  current Club World seating.

I personally think it will be a good improvement. Aesthetically a big improvement on the current setup

Perfection is a hard act to follow ;)

01 Aug 2012

Total posts 30

Folks, remember that these pictures are from a patent application. They are supposed to demonstrate how the seat works and what makes it unique enough to claim a patent. Tthey do not necessarily show the seat's true size or proportions.If these were real pictures I'd be concerned about the length of the seat in flat mode. Airlines usually use petit models to create an illusion of space and the BA model barely manages to stretch her legs. Otherwise I have to say: wow! I love the look and feel of that seat! The sort of classy look you'd usually find on Cathay or Singapore and certainly a welcome departure from their current once-innocative but long-outdated coffins.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 341

Hates off for thinking outside the box on this one BA... but I still feel this looks more style of substance.  The seats do NOT look comfortable. You can't recline and it looks awkward trying to seat forward facing.

09 Sep 2014

Total posts 54

I think it's a great improvement form their present J class!

24 Apr 2014

Total posts 272

It just seems very cramped to me

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

26 Oct 2014

Total posts 2

Good God! Its Atrocious!  For someone with Claustrophobia its going to be a nightmare! Please fix this!

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