New aircraft seat makes room for 'plus-sized passengers'

By David Flynn , April 21 2015
New aircraft seat makes room for 'plus-sized passengers'

In an era where aircraft seats seem to be getting smaller while passengers get larger, a German company has turned the problem into an opportunity.

Meet the seat which welcomes overweight travellers, providing them with half as much extra space as a conventional economy seat.

The designers at SII Deutschland claim the seat would be safer for obese passengers than a standard economy seat.

SII says the concept is also suitable for small children, by fitting a small baby chair which allegedly still leaves room for a (very very skinny) parent.

The SANTO Seat (it stands for Special Accommodation Needs for Toddlers and Overweight Passengers) is designed to be fitted at the very rear of the aircraft, where the narrowing fuselage would typically leave some wasted space between the window seat and the cabin wall – as seen below on this seatmap for a Boeing 747.

Those seats have long been a top pick for savvy frequent flyers, as they allow extra room to keep a small carry-on bag literally at your side, as well as allowing extra legroom in most of the reduced-seating rows (by stretching your legs forward into the wall-to-seat space ahead of you).

The SANTO Seat uses the full width of that area, and of course means that airlines could look to charge extra for those 'special' seats.

The design won the Crystal Cabin Award for 'Passenger Comfort Hardware' during last week's Aircraft Interiors Expo at Hamburg.

(Another winner: an aircraft window shade which uses a solar panel to charge your smartphone or tablet inflight).

Also read: Qantas, Virgin Australia ease the squeeze with 'comfort seat' bookings

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David

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.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

Be interesting to see how these seats get dished out.

Does a plus sized passenger get singled out at check in and thrown into the big mans zone? Is it something you're able to secure at time of booking? Would the savvy frequent flyer's cotton onto this and use it as a cost effective way to grab some extra space?

That said, I welcome it. We've all been there when you see a portly gent shuffling down the aisle, and singles out the middle seat next to you. I'm sure it's just as uncomfortable for the big guys as it is for those of us seated next to them.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

One would hope that they'll be forced to pay extra for it. 

Incidentally, I hate the euphemism "plus sized". What does that make the rest of us? Minus sized? Zero sized?

I assure you that I have a size which is expressible in purely positive real numbers in all dimensions.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I'd like to be a fly on the wall in a LCC cost planning meeting where they've mooted the idea of weighing in passengers and charging below. The aircrafts are so densely occupied, a heavy pax list could have an actual impact on the fuel burn.

Say they had an 85kg plus 5kg carry on. Anything over, you get stung.

That would make for some savage media reporting!

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

I weigh 98KGS with a 48inch chest, 34 inch waist - 186CM's tall and I work out at least 5 times a week. What premium do you suggest I pay for being over 85KS's ??????????

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Dec 2012

Total posts 171

You sound like a solid unit Tony, i'd suggest you just crush anyone who suggest you pay more for your beefcake frame!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I think you misunderstood the above. I'm not suggesting it, endorsing it or even thinking it would work. 

At lest you have the advantage of not having to concern yourself with leg room!

30 Mar 2015

Total posts 23

the average fuel burn on a per passenger basis on a modern airliner is around 2L/100km (some flights it'll be nearer to 1 and some it'll be nearer 3, but 2 is a decent planning figure). Current bulk prices are around $2/gallon (3.7L) Extrapolating this would suggest your average melbourne to sydney flight costs about $10 for your fuel and across the pacific under $150. Assuming that's for 100kg of passenger + luggage - likely variations are somewhere between 50kg and 150kg. which is +/- 50% from that 'average'

What carrier do you suppose is going to be willing to jeopardise their reputation to more accurately charge ~10% of the ticket price?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1386

Again totally misses the fact that in an aircraft cabin it is not Weight you are mostly paying for it is Floor Space.

An Economy seat takes up the same amount of space on the aircraft whether you weigh 40kg or 120kg and just fit the seat, the fuel cost of that extra 80kg is fairly negligible (to a point)

Business and First seats can take up 3-10x the space and are priced commensurately.

Ideally airlines would also charge for baggage by cubic space (given you can stack it) - but it is not simply calculated, so weight is used more as an approximation.

-

This idea looks good though - using previously wasted space on the aircraft (due to the curvature) an presumably allowing the airlines to charge for it.

30 Mar 2015

Total posts 23

Moa99 - Actually my response was in relation to charging by virtue of a passenger's weight. The website format just makes it look like I am responding to an earlier comment. I haven't missed the point - in fact my cost analysis reinforces that the price of your ticket is largely (~80%+ for economy) relating to other factors.

Air freight is charged by so called 'cubic weight' where they charge either by weight or by cubic space which ever is most advantageous to them.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 574

I'm not suggesting airlines should charge passengers per weight, merely wondering how long before an LCC such as Ryanair floats the idea.

Outsourced ex-airline staff

04 Jun 2014

Total posts 14

Just a (albeit annoying) point .... Is obesity strictly limited to the male sex ? ... lol...

 

:)

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 81

Air france already charges for the seats by the back - 41 US at that!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

I really like the fact that somewhere out there, there's a guy who got paid to be the model for the "too fat to sit in an airline seat" stock photo. 

I wonder how much he got paid. I wonder whether he thinks it was worth it. I wonder what twists and turns his modelling career took after this.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

I've seen much fatter types than him waddle onto flights, and they have not been all males!

Outsourced ex-airline staff

04 Jun 2014

Total posts 14

Hey Hugo..

More power to him, especially since he still remains quite anonymous unless biometrics have advanced to the state of nose tip, lip, chin and recognition ! ... 

I would have gladly risen to the occasion but I'll (modestly) say I would not be 'qualified' for the assignment..   !  ..  lol..


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