The increase in the number of passengers is usually accompanied by lower passenger fares, which low-cost airlines do very well. But in premium cabins, airlines are limited on how they can make those seats business class. A concept of American designers, Formation Design, attempts to solve this problem through the use of vertical space.
How to get more people into the premium cabin
Reclining seats are great for long trips, but with one big downside: cost. Unless you have miles and points to burn, this level of comfort can come at an exorbitant price, leaving the bulk of travelers struggling to sleep in economy.
But the airlines have their hands tied. All the real estate needed to accommodate reclining business-class seats and spacious first-class suites means they have to sell them for a higher price – but what if they could fit more?
More passengers tend to lower costs for all, which budget airlines embrace to the fullest. But with a certain amount of floor space needed to accommodate anything that lies flat, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze more passengers into the premium cabin. However, an American design house found a solution that does just that and could see the rates cut for everyone.
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Training for success
Formation Design presented the Formation Premium Cabin concept as a way to increase the capacity of the premium cabin, while simultaneously diversifying the product to create a business class combined with a more first-class type of offering. To do this, it uses the vertical space of the cabin.
Throughout the cabin, the floor-level reclining seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration, alternating forward and rearward facing, and narrowing to 2-3-2 in the first rows. Above these seats are a small number of raised “suites”, in a 1-2-1 layout.
The idea is that all lower seat passengers get a stretched out experience that might not quite be comparable to real business class today, but a comfortable way to travel, nonetheless. Those in the elevated suites get more of a first-class experience, with a king-size bed and exceptional privacy.
The key to the benefits for airlines and passengers here is the ability to accommodate more people in the same overall space. Formation Design indicates that this concept makes it possible to obtain an overall gain of 17 elongated passenger seats compared to a standard staggered or chevron arrangement.
A super throne
John Walton of Runway Girl Network described the Formation Premium cabin as offering something akin to a “super-throne” seat. Seems like a fair assessment. While Formation Design likes to present this as business more first in the same cabin, the business class seats just don’t quite measure up, and first of all, these days tend to be on a whole new level. .
Nonetheless, the end result is a very intriguing proposition. Other airlines already sell two standard business class in their cabins, such as the original Mint from JetBlue or the “seat of the throne” A330 from Finnair. The elevation of the super-throne makes it an even more spacious and private product than these, and could be a winner for passengers looking for the best.
But there are also advantages for lower passengers. Although several passengers in the cabin do not have direct aisle access, this remains an issue in a number of business class cabins today. For those who are not by the aisle, having their sleeping partner much lower will make it much easier to step over them to get out.
What do you think of the Premium Cabin Training concept? Let us know in the comments.