Being stuck in the plane’s cramped middle seats can be a real pain in the behind – often figuratively and literally – but a company in Colorado is aiming to change that.
Molon Labe Seating’s new S1 “Space Seat” design, which was approved by the FAA in June, arranges its rows of economy airline seating so that the middle seat is slightly staggered behind, and below, the window seat and aisle seat on either side. This, in turn, allows for a wider middle seat by three inches, according to Molon Labe Seating.
The seats would also allow passengers to more easily share the middle armrests thanks to a two-level design.
"In a nutshell, I want flying to suck less,” said Hank Scott, founder and CEO Molon Labe Seating, to Fox News.
Passengers won’t see the seats on planes until next year, however, and only if they fly with the yet-to-be-announced airlines that intend to install the S1 in 50 of their planes, Fast Company reported.
But Scott told Fox News he's already in talks with "well over" 10 airlines, and would imagine that the S1 will be in "at least a few" fleets by April.
“When [an airline executive] sits down, it takes a couple of seconds, especially when they sit next to a big fella," he said of showing the S1 design within the industry. "But there’s a significant change in their thinking."
The executives all invariably “get it” at that point, Scott claimed.
The S1 does have a few noticeable flaws, though. It doesn’t recline, and the middle seat, being lower to the ground, might not be ideal for taller fliers.
Still, Scott said it’s an improvement over current economy seating designs.
“We’re essentially solving the elbow wars,” he told Wired.
Molon Labe Designs is also currently working on two other versions for longer flights: the S2 “Stagger Seat,” which is also staggered, wider, and boasts a built-in rotating headrest; and the S3 “Side-Slip Seat,” which features a design that allows the aisle seat to slide over the middle seat and widen the center aisle during boarding and deplaning.
The "Side-Slip," too, has another advantage Scott is especially excited about.
"One of the odd advantages of that is that if you’re in a wheelchair, you can’t go down the aisle… So the project we’ve just kicked off is to take the idea of the side-slip seat, and help people with restricted mobility."
Scott also said he's already received inquiries about the side-slip from a "very large" airline.
“Everyone hates flying, and if you make it less miserable, you’re going to get orders," he said.