Do you prefer a reclining seat or non-reclining option? What about an articulated seat pan? Traditionally those three designs are the choices you’d have as an economy class passenger. Thanks to the work of bespoke seating designer and manufacturer Optimares there’s another option, one the company hopes to see on more aircraft very soon. The “Quadra” seat delivers a unique approach to the recline functionality that it, along with an airline customer, hopes will up the comfort factor on long-haul economy class trips.
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) September 27, 2017
An articulated seat alters the design by allowing the seat pan to slide forward as part of the recline function. Quadra takes the idea of a moving seat pan a step further, changing the angle as well. The idea is to produce a position more conducive to sleeping on a longer flight by reducing pressure on the hamstrings and allowing legs to be straighter and more in line with the spine. It isn’t much – this is economy class, after all – but the geometry of seat design could make things better for travelers.
Of course, it is also different. And different is rarely something travelers love. The angle creates potential to “slip” down the seat, a common complaint against angle-flat business class products over the years. Other concerns include the screen viewing angle, particularly in the recline position. Typically that is an optional component based on the vendor and airline choice.
Optimares doesn’t generally create new products without buy-in from an airline first. The development of the Maxima Plus seat was driven by its partnership with Hawaiian Airlines. That product received many awards and the carrier is positive about the customer feedback so far. Quadra’s deployment has been minimal thus far but the company is stepping up marketing efforts and pushing for new customers.
I sat in the seat for under a minute. That’s clearly not enough time to tell if it is something crazy that will never go far or something just crazy enough to be a great option for passengers and airlines alike. The wedgie factor is a very real consideration as are increased maintenance costs from the extra moving parts. Then again, the company cites research suggesting that passengers feel the seat delivers significantly more space compared to other options of similar cabin density. Letting travelers feel like they’re getting more without actually giving them more is every airline’s dream come true.
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- Can a new recline reshape long-haul economy travel?