These Smart Airplane Seats Might Finally Bring Privacy and Better Sleep to Economy Class
Getting rest in economy class is often an act that requires a stroke of ingenuity: Do you crumple up a scarf and shove it between your neck and the window? Do you unfurl the tray table and attempt a child’s pose? Or do you depend on a travel pillow to solve all your problems?
At a conference in London earlier this week, a company called Universal Movement debuted an idea for an airplane seat that would eliminate the need for any MacGyver-ing.
The “Interspace” seat has wings that come out around the passenger’s head. These can be used to lean on if you need some head support while sleeping — or simply if you just don’t want to see your neighbor. “I'm immediately struck by the privacy and am barely aware of my seat neighbor,” a reporter for CNN wrote upon trying the seat.
And the seat might even be smarter than that. Universal Movement is working on technology in the wings that would recognize when the passenger has fallen asleep. Once that’s detected, the in-flight entertainment would automatically pause, allowing the passenger to start back up again with their movie when they wake up.
Universal Movement says they are in talks with several airlines about installing the wings, although none have confirmed as of yet. An installation would be an easier process than a complete cabin overhaul because the wings could be added to pre-existing cabin seating, the company says.
Until these seats are a reality, load up on your melatonin, pack yourself a sleeping kit, and learn Travel + Leisure’s other tips for getting quality sleep in an airplane cabin.