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).
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