An Expedia survey found 48% of travelers can’t sleep on a plane, but one company suggests they could if airlines switched to double-decker seating.
Zephyr Aerospace’s “Zephyr Seat” stacks 2 horizontal seats, allowing both passengers to either lie down flat or sit up with their legs outstretched. The top passenger enters and exits via a pop-out ladder.
The seats wouldn’t offer greater capacity if they replaced standard economy seats, but could if they made their way into business class, per Business Insider.
They would offer more privacy than traditional seating or Air New Zealand’s Skycouch, which may appeal to COVID-anxious travelers. They’d also likely be cheaper than the lie-flat seats currently found in first and business class cabins.
So when might we see these in action?
Zephyr founder Jeffrey O’Neill and co-designer Matt Cleary patented the Zephyr Seat in March 2018, according to Forbes.
But there are a few issues to settle first, like:
- Certification for taxi, takeoff, and landings
- Evacuation tests
FAA regulations state all passengers and crew must be able to evacuate within 90 seconds, and aircraft manufacturers have to conduct live demos to show this.
They’re intense, too: Here’s the Airbus A380’s test, evacuating 873 passengers in 78 seconds.
In all, safety tests could take Zephyr 3 years, per CNN Travel.
But demand could be high
Zephyr raised $739.3k via crowdfunding from 2.5k+ hopeful plane-nappers — 700%+ of its initial goal.
Fun fact: The word “zephyr” means a gentle breeze and is derived from Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind.
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