Could this be the economy seat we've all been waiting for?
Award-winning designer James Lee reckons his Meerkat concept seat could save your knees and your sanity, even on the longest flight.
Preserving limited but critical knee space, Lee’s revolutionary seat comes with a reclining backrest that doesn’t impact on the passenger behind.
It’s done by lifting part of the seat and propping a briefcase behind to create a sloping feel…
For added comfort, the headrest can be adjusted either up or down – the latter a point of difference from many of today’s best seats, which don’t cater well for short passengers.
That mid-flight refreshment is easily housed in a dedicated cup holder…
… and for either work or play, the tray table folds down to reveal a document pocket – although unfortunately the AC power outlet is hidden behind there too, so you can't charge your laptop unless the tray is down.
There's USB power as well, but when the tray table is closed, there's actually nowhere to store your charging phone, other than in your lap...
Below the AC power point is a small compartment that's perfect for reading glasses, although don't close the tray table and forget where you left them!
More bulky items such as blankets and large water bottles are held in place by a strap, which keeps them at the ready during the flight.
There’s a shared literature rack for magazines and the sort – although we’d suggest keeping anything private hidden behind that tray table of yours.
Explaining the new concept, the designer’s website reads: “Passengers today are far more focused on comfort. However, airlines need to balance costs with fancy facilities.
“Weight reduction is especially critical since it has a direct bearing on the amount of fuel consumed particularly on long flights. The Meerkat seeks to satisfy both sides.”
Providing a little extra space throughout the flight is that tray table, which can be locked part way down and sports a grooved edge to hold an iPad or other similar tablet.
Also for comfort is a double-storey armrest, which allows both passengers to use it simultaneously.
For female business travellers stuck economy, you’ll be able to powder your nose without heading to the bathroom, as a built-in and adjustable vanity mirror comes standard…
… but when you do decide to wander about the cabin, the headsets have an integrated hook to keep your space tidy – but we’d still suggest stowing them if they're not being used throughout the flight.
Down below, the seat frame and entertainment box are aligned to provide an integrated footrest for shorter passengers – maximising the utility of the space.
Lee’s forward-thinking design hasn’t yet been picked up by the airlines, but he’s hoping that the now-patented double tier armrest will also make its way onto commuter trains and even into a cinema near you.
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