The recent reveal of a double-decker plane seat has made waves in the travel industry and on social media. Some people applaud the potential for airlines to accommodate more people, but others anticipate an uncomfortable travel experience. The layered seating design is a departure from what we are all used to, and the seats are angled in a way to maximize space.
While many people have expressed their concerns about double-decker seats inducing claustrophobia, the designer intended to provide more legroom. Designer Núñez Vicente told CNN that his uncomfortable experiences struggling to get comfortable on a plane as a man who stands over 6 feet tall inspired his design.
The design provides plenty of legroom, but it also provides airlines more room to pack flights as fully as possible. Vincente said that “many airlines and many big players of the industry are trying to push us to put more passengers into the aircraft”, and his design certainly makes that possible. According to Vincente, it could take up to 2 and a half years for the double-decker seats to become available.
Núñez Vicente initially came up with the design while in college. Now, 23, Vincente has expanded on the idea for the past year and brought the controversial design to life. Countless people took to social media to air their grievances with key Tweets like “Double-decker plane seats… eh no” echoing the way that the design was most commonly received.
There’s no telling whether or not airlines will adopt this design and install double-decker seats in their planes. However, the recent rise in travel has left airports packed and airlines looking for ways to accommodate as many travelers as possible. Airline industry professionals recently got to see the prototype in person at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2023, but it’s too soon to say which airlines will utilize them.
The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to weigh in on whether or not the double-decker seats meet their safety standards. This government organization regulates everything from the seating layout to aviation and landing protocols. If they meet FAA standards, there is a chance that you will see these layered seats start to appear on planes within the next few years.
People have made it clear that they are worried about comfort and safety when it comes to double-decker plane seats. The layered design puts the feet of passengers on the upper deck near the heads of the passengers on the lower deck. Seeing as some passengers already kick the seat in front of them, it stands to reason that this trend could continue with double-decker seats.
Concerned social media posts stating “if the woman behind kicks the seat she’ll be booting the woman in the back of the neck” raise valid points. Even still, this project is still in its infancy as the prototype was only revealed this month so the final design and its comfort are yet to be seen or experienced.
Núñez Vicente has made it clear that he stands by the project and that the design was made with altruistic intentions. He said that his goal is to “make the economy class better for all those travelers that can’t afford more expensive tickets”. The prospect of getting more legroom at coach prices without having to pay 10-15 times more for a first-class ticket is the biggest appeal, and that’s the best chance the design has to win people over.
While these seats may take a while to come to the market, you can experience them within the Metaverse. 3DSeatMap VR’s technology makes it possible for people to check out the new double-decker seats. This doesn’t paint a full picture of what it feels like to sit on the seats for a full flight, but it’s the best we can get until major airlines decide to put them in their planes.
Despite the initial backlash, it’s important to consider the benefits of accommodating many passengers at fair prices. Vincente took the criticism in stride stating that “To be honest, there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Considering that his design originally won the 2021 Crystal Cabin Awards which has proven to be a tastemaker in the airline industry, there’s a good chance that you will sit in double-decker plane seats someday soon.