‘Floating’ Business Class Seats Could Be Coming To A Plane Near You

Time for airlines to lift their game?

‘Floating’ Business Class Seats Could Be Coming To A Plane Near You

A ‘floating’ new business class design is in the works. It aims to make a single-aisle jet experience feel more like a double aisle jet experience (i.e. feel more spacious), with seats and tables sticking out of the wall, making them appear to be ‘floating.’

The latest business class design will make your heart (and legs) hover. It’s called ‘Elevate,’ and it aims to make flying in a single-aisle jet feel as spacious and luxurious as flying in a double aisle jet. The timing of this design is no coincidence, as many airlines have, in recent years, struggled to fill double aisle jets on certain routes, and are now turning away from Boeing 747s and Airbus A330s (and A380s) in favour of single aisle jets (on many routes, even long haul – something very unusual in the past).

Single-aisle aircraft have become a profitable alternative because of their enhanced fuel efficiency and lower passenger capacity, two factors that allow carriers to operate lower-demand city routes while still making money.

Though there is no guarantee Elevate will actually get adopted (it’s still just a design at this stage), the concept comes from a guy who knows his stuff – Anthony Harcup. Harcup is Senior Director of Airline Experience at Teague, and he was behind the Etihad’s renowned ‘The Residence.’

Not only that but Elevate has already got some critical acclaim. Elevate topped the ‘Cabin Concepts’ category at the Crystal Cabin Awards in Hamburg in June, and would appear the perfect choice to implement on a narrowbody jet like an Airbus A321neo or a Boeing 737 MAX.

How does it work, exactly? Elevate features “floating” seats and tables, which are fixed to the side of the plane using NORDAM’s patented “Nbrace” attachment (Teague partnered with NORDAM to create this design).

Image Credit: Teague

The sidewall connectivity is an industry first. The design makes for a lighter product (no legs), and creates more space (meaning you can have a bigger bed, more living space and more storage).

The design also sees TVs attached to the cabin walls. The whole thing gives airlines more wiggle room to experiment with different seat angles and pitches.

On Teague’s website, Harcup writes: “The pairing of fixed, full-height slatted screens with the reverse herringbone seat-layout allowed us to create a premium level of privacy and enabled a fixed monitor location.”

“By looking at the cabin in its entirety we were able to take a different approach, integrating PSUs and overhead bins into the seat environment, creating a physical ‘cocoon’ for the passenger, and developing a sense of ownership over the entire space.”

He added: “From an airline’s operational perspective, the additional fixing points allow for greater integrity and strength, further lightening the seats themselves bringing back the cost efficiencies that airlines expect. By reimagining these cabins from the ground up–literally–it’s possible to create cross-fleet consistency, help meet sustainability targets and reduce maintenance and engineering costs.”

Fingers crossed this design makes its way to a plane near us soon. We’re intrigued.

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