Since 2013, the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Zodiac Aerospace, have been working on a very innovative concept. The "HD31" (High Density 31-inch spacing), shown here, is an indication of what the short-haul Economy Class might look like in the future.
These folding seats, placed forward and rear facing alternatively on the cabin’s seating layout, could be one way of reducing boarding and exiting time, improving communication with fellow passengers without risking a stiff neck, and optimising space. With this concept an airline would have 30 additional cabin seats (seven per row instead of today’s six), and in particular, offer increased passenger leg room. As Carole Van Cauter, Zodiac Aerospace Deputy Marketing Manager explains: "We gain comfort with 31 inches (79 centimetres) instead of 27 inches (69 centimetres) for this type of short-haul Economy Class seat."
The concept is still at the development stage, but the goal is to create an interest and generate debate. So precisely what do those most concerned think? To find out we went, concept in hand, to ask them (answers in the video).
At present there has been no great rush from airlines, meaning that the "HD31" seat has not yet produced any orders. Zodiac Aerospace have not therefore begun a certification process and even less the seat’s marketing. Discussions, however, are underway to improve the concept and who knows, maybe one day, in offering them to Economy Class passengers, these seats could produce an about-face in current marketing.