As brutal and unrelenting as the coronavirus pandemic is, we may see a silver lining emerge as products and services are developed to help people cope with a new, more restrictive way of life. Improvements in the health and safety of airline passengers will surely come about as people try to get back to normal, but not all changes are easy. Two new seat designs from Italian company Avio Interiors attempt to address the need for social distance while sitting in an enclosed, flying metal tube, but the price of that safety may come at the price of what little privacy air travelers have left.
The company released renderings of two new concepts that it says provide a protective barrier between passengers. The first image is of the "Glassafe" partition, which can be installed between existing airline seats. It appears innocent enough and should be a cost-effective way to add a layer of protection between passengers.
The second mockup, featuring a seat called Janus, is where everything gets...futuristic. Avio says it was named after the two-faced Roman god, who had one face pointing forward and one backward. The center seat in each row has been reversed so that one person is facing opposite the other two, and though there is a glass wall between passengers, there’s still far too much opportunity to awkwardly lock eyes with the person sitting next to you.
This would also require significant retooling to current passenger aircraft, and Lord knows that carriers across the globe aren't swimming in cash at the moment.
These airline seating concepts are cool, but they’re not the only designs in Avio’s portfolio. A couple of years ago, Avio made waves with its Skyrider seat, which was essentially a floating saddle. The company's other products are futuristic but much more mainstream than the funky units we see above. Maybe that's for the best.
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