These new economy-class seats won’t win any awards for plush finish but their space-saving design means a substantial increase in usable legroom, even for the tallest of passengers.
Designed by UK firm Acro Aircraft Seating, the minimalist Superlight series is intended for short-haul aircraft. The seatback is just 1.7cm thick, and compresses to around 1cm when a passenger is sitting in it.
With less space taken up by the seat itself, and the design of the chassis keeping all structural components out of the foot well, there’s more room for the legs of the passenger sitting behind it.
Budget UK carrier Jet2 is fitting the Acro Superlight across its entire fleet (which is mostly Boeing 737-300s) and recently hosted a flight for the Tall Persons’ Club of Great Britain and Ireland – where the average male club-member stands at 2 metres (6’5”) – to get some real-world feedback.
“This is the first time an airline has really taken us into consideration and it’s fantastic to know that members of the Tall Persons Club can now travel in comfort” said Andrew Smith, a 6’6” member of the club.
“The new seat design means we can genuinely fit our legs in and also use the tray which has previously been difficult, if not impossible on some aircraft.”
Of course, Acro and Jet2 are motivated by more than just love for the loftier members of our society. The 10kg Superlights weigh far less than conventional seating, and that weight reduction translates to reduced fuel costs.
“A typical A320 operator with our seats fitted will save 500kg per aircraft, worth over US$50,000 per annum” says Chris Brady, commercial director of Acro Aircraft Seating.