Most business travellers will do almost anything to avoid the dreaded middle seat, but this novel design could turn it into one of the most coveted spots on the plane.
It's the 'Space X' concept created by aircraft seat manufacturer Jamco in collaboration with Japanese designer Satoshi Wada – best known for a decade at Audi which resulted in the A5, S5, A6 and Q7 and several concept models.
First up, it's more of a suite than a seat, with travellers enjoying a cocoon of privacy.
And despite the 2-3-2 seating layout, Jamco says that every passenger flying in a Space X business class cabin will have direct access to the aisle.
The suites are staggered in a way which reminds us of Korean Air’s latest business class cabin on flights to Australia, as well as Japan Airlines' Boeing 777 Sky Suites, with a series of small pathways leading from each seat to the aisle:
Now, about that middle seat...
It's got a wider seat cushion and bed than its neighbours, at 26.4 inches vs 25.6 inches in the outer seats.
... while the 4K video screen has been upsized from 24 inches to 28 inches.
But no matter where you sit, high-tech flourishes abound: there's wireless charging of your smartphone or tablet (below), individual seat temperature controls and even built-in humidifiers.
(Interestingly, designer Wada eschewed many of the complex mechanisms and motors of most modern business class seats –most noticeably, the seat is more like a sofa which converts into a fully-flat bed by simply pulling out the base.)
The Panasonic’s inflight entertainment system can be controlled using your own device.
Other nifty techno touches also include a ‘do not disturb’ light (something already in a few airline's latest business class seats and which we’d like to see more airlines adopt).
When it’s time for bed, each seat extends to a precise 74.9 inches (190cm) for a good night’s sleep…
… again surprisingly making the middle seats the best option – you can raise a privacy screen on each side, and as the middle passenger exits to a small dedicated passageway in front of each row, there’s a little extra room for toes to point out and over the mattress:
Or, fly with a partner or spouse and leave one of the central dividers open to chit-chat:
You can even phone the cabin crew rather than having them attend to your seat in person should you require anything quickly:
Beyond that, there’s plenty of space for your kit with central holders adjacent to your fixed lamp, along with an ottoman and sliding yet sturdy tray table:
When not in use, that table slides back underneath the entertainment screen but remains entirely usable for holding large devices such as laptops:
As is currently available in some first class seats including aboard Etihad’s older Boeing 777s and newer 787s, your carry-on baggage slips underneath that ottoman rather than in a locker above your head, making for a more spacious cabin where those lockers are removed:
So how far away is all of this? Jamco's Space X business class seat is soon to begin the rigorous and mandatory round of safety certification, but the company expects it'll be ready for launch by mid-2018.
- New Space X first class suites built for high-flying couples...
- Emirates to launch new luxury first class A380 suites next year
- Concept designs for new Singapore Airlines first class, business class
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