Coronavirus flights: Could plane seats look like this in the future for social distancing?

Flights are well-known for cramming high numbers of passengers into a plane. In the current climate of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, many are now worried about such proximity. Some airlines are temporarily abolishing middle seat bookings in a bid to enforce social distancing.


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easyJet is one British airline considering the new measure in a post-coronavirus.

However, could commercial carriers go one step further with implementing social distancing on future flights?

An Italian company that designs and produces aircraft passenger seats has unveiled an intriguing concept for plane seats to “ensure maximise isolation.”

Aviointeriors SpA has two ideas for seating – the ‘Janus’ seat and the ‘Glasssafe’ seat.

Named after two-faced Janus, the god of Ancient Rome, the first seat design sees the middle seat reversed and facing in the opposite direction to the aisle and window seats.

This “ensures the maximum isolation between passengers seated next to each other.”

Aviointeriors SpA explained: “This arrangement allows all three passengers to be separated with a shield made of transparent material that isolates them from each other, creating a protective barrier for everyone.

“Each passenger has their own space isolated from others, even from people who walk through the aisle.”

Despite the novel layout, the seats are said to take up its as much space as they do currently on standard aircraft.

“The centre passenger facing backwards occupies the same space as others, so this seat does not need a pitch higher than usual, access and exit clearance are as usual too and therefore the seat installation pitch remains as originally provided for by the aircraft specification lay-out,” said Aviointeriors SpA.

Each ‘Janus’ seat is surrounded on three sides by a high shield that prevents the “breath propagation to occupants of adjacent seats.”

Meanwhile, the seat shield allows the passenger sitting behind to use all the equipment situated on the back of the front seat, meal table, literature pocket and other possible equipment.


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“The shield will continue to perform its separation function between passengers when the backrest is reclined,” added Aviointeriors SpA.

The company’s second design proposal sees current aircraft seating staying in place – but with a hood-like feature attached to each seat.

‘Glassafe’ is “a kit-level solution that can be installed on existing seats to make close proximity safer among passengers sharing the same seat,” explained Aviointeriors SpA.

“‘Glassafe’ is made of transparent material to make the entire cabin harmonious and aesthetically light, but perfectly fulfilling the objective of creating an isolated volume around the passenger in order to avoid or minimise contacts and interactions via air between passenger and passenger, so as to reduce the probability of contamination by viruses or other.”

The company added that it “is supplied in various executions with fixing
systems to the seat that allow easy installation and removal.

“The shield is shaped in such a way as to leave complete accessibility to the accessories normally installed on the back, such as tables, magazine pockets.”

‘Glassafe’ can be supplied in opaque material or with different degrees of transparency, all of which can be easily cleaned.

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