April 11, 2016

Thanks to a new concept from seat manufacturer Geven, economy class might be a little more comfortable in the future. Earlier this week, the Italian brand revealed plans for row of seats that can be converted into a lay-flat bed. Called Piuma Sofa, the design would allow for passengers in the main cabin to transform three or four seats into a “sleeper sofa” in 30 seconds, making it possible to stretch out.

The company showed off their idea at this week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, and uploaded a video detailing how the proposed system might work. According to the Geven, the armrests would rise up and the headrests could be removed and used as an extension of the cushion. In addition, no legroom of under-seat storage is sacrificed with the design. To take advantage of the seat, a passenger would have to book the entire sofa in advance or after boarding if there’s availability.

And the new seats might be implemented sooner than later. The internationally patented sofa has already garnered interest from several airlines, and Air Asia X signed a letter of intent to purchase, according to Flightglobal. "You could sell 20 beds on a flight that's half empty and, assuming you charge £200 [$290] for each one, that is £4,000 [$5,697] of extra revenue per flight," Trevor Lambert, who is working with Geven, told the website.

The design is similar to that of Air New Zealand’s SkyCouch, China Airlines’ Family Couch, and a sleeper seat on Air Astana, but the Piuma Sofa "doesn't add any extra bulk to the critical area around the seat." 

Geven is targeting its first deliveries by October.

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