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New Airplane Design Proposes Seating Passengers Face-To-Face

September 8, 2009 at 3:04 PM | by | ()

If British design company Design Q gets its way, airplanes of the future will seat passengers in an innovative—dare we say interactive—high-density configuration. More specifically, they intend to essentially seat passengers face to face for the entire trip:

A British design company says it is working on plans for new sideways, staggered seating on airplanes as a cost-cutting option for airlines to maximize the number of passengers on board. Design Q released images of the concept, which has a row of seats facing inward on each side of the plane and two rows running back-to-back down the middle of the aircraft.

Listen. We know that sometimes we can be a little harsh about the so-called "innovations" that so-called "experts" bring to the table. We've even been known to inappropriately dismiss a good idea or two, an overreaction we put down to years of travel having made us jaded. So we want to be very clear about this:

We don't like having to interact with fellow passengers, especially on a 15-hour flight to Hong Kong or a puddle-jumper in the Midwest. There are rules on this. It's not why we get on airplanes. In fact there's a good argument to be made that we travel specifically to avoid other people.

Please airlines, don't make us awkwardly face another human being for an entire flight. You won't like the result and you bet that your customer satisfaction scores will plummet. Also: germs. Dealing with a sneezing and coughing seatmate is bad enough, just imagine them doing it in your face. Just thinking about this concept makes us feel like we need some Purell.

[Photo: Design Q via Flight Global]

Related Stories:
· Will Sideways Seating Be Future of Budget Air Travel? [Fox News]
· Airplanes Coverage [Jaunted]
· Seats Coverage [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:


That would be terrible. I would not want to look at other travelers for hours and hours. We were brought up to face forward, remember your grade school classroom seating chart?


Now if they could just kill food service from many flights my enjoyment would be entirely eliminated. Oh wait...

- Monica

Bad idea

Many of us (me included) get motion sickness when not facing forward.


Use to have a "seats face" each other configuration back in the 90s, as I recall. Glad they scrapped it, hope this doesn't happen.


No. Just no.

cant happen

Seats in an aircraft are designed with air crashes in mind. Most crashes are not fatal (emergency landing, ditching etc) but if the passengers experienced the force on their sides there would be much more injury. There are standards etc for aviation safety and I'm pretty sure this wont even make it off the starting blocks.

where form & function don't meet...

Hmm.. lets see... * aisles with EVERYONE's feet in them... * during take off, everyone will be leaning towards the back of the plane instead of into the backrest of their seat * airplane seats are already uncomfortable enough, but I see neither backrests nor armrests in this mockup... * with no overhead compartments in their mockup image above, I guess everyone is really screwed if you need that airmask to pop down in an emergency... but then again at that point you're pretty screwed anyway... * oh yeah... and I hate talking to people on the plane... and so does just about everyone else...


they will use this for short hall flights only i'm sure. the 15 hour hong kong flight obviously isn't viable for this configuration. i think you could see passengers standing as well just like a bus at some point in the future once everyone is more comfortable with air travel.

Another crazy idea

Ugh... just what we need


That looks like to most uncomfortable airplane ever... what if you wanted to slouch or lean over? What happened to the window seat!? However... if the seats were comfier, and there was possibly privacy walls or something in between them... this idea could work. The rows seem staggered, so you wouldn't exactly be face to face.

you've got to be kidding!

but I know you're not. It just confirms what my grandpa used to say--the world is going to hell in handbasket.

Why not!??

If this allows me to afford one more fun weekend trip each year, then yes, I'm all in for it! Of course I would never do a trans atlantic flight in a seat like that, but two hours? Why not!? If you have the cash, you can always choose another and more comfortable airline!


I just realized that I was the only one in favor of this idea..

I'm afraid I'm the only one with red numbers on my bank account as well..