Rebel.Aero is a company that wants to disrupt the airplane seating industry. Its latest product to help it in its quest is Joy – an ultra-lightweight seat that promises to eliminate shoulder contact (and hopefully friction) between passengers. Will a staggering of seats be enough to settle future armrest disputes before they arise?
Simplicity standing out in crowd of concepts
The past year and the arrival of the ultra-health-conscious traveler-era have given rise to a whole host of innovations when it comes to airplane seating. Producers have dreamt up concepts such as semi-private cubicles, individual glass screens around passengers’ heads, yin-yang seating, and cabin zones separated by antimicrobial cloth.
Just recently, a double-decker concept raised over 700% of its initial crowdfunding goal. So the desire from the public for new seating solutions in the cabin is definitely there. But perhaps we will see smaller adjustments to the status quo before we begin scaling stairs or shielding ourselves off from our neighbors entirely.
Such as, for instance, the Rebel.Aero Joy. The company, much as its name would imply, says that its mission is to disrupt the current stagnant seating industry and design products that are ‘actually appealing to the consumer as well as the owner’. Rebel.Aero’s most recent addition – Joy – is an ultra-lightweight seat weighing in at about six kg that the manufacturer says will ‘end armrest wars forever’.
The Joy seat features the option of staggering the middle seat. This is to reduce shoulder and armrest contact between passengers seated next to each other. Meanwhile, it looks as if there is still only one actual armrest to go around, meaning that while there may be more shoulder room, it seems the arms themselves would still need to occupy the same space.
The shoulder stagger is not the only stand-out feature, however. Rebel.Aero Joy also has a spring-loaded ‘flip-up booster’ seat. This folds up to, along with a baggage offset bar, allow for more standing space. In turn, this would maximize passenger envelope, with speedier boarding as a result.
Its thermoplastic seatbacks are designed to reduce total maintenance, and a very low component count means it takes less than ten minutes to assemble.
Along with saving time during boarding, reducing weight on an aircraft is highly attractive for airlines. When it comes to airplane seats, every extra kilo quickly adds up, equalling higher fuel costs and more CO2 emissions.
This quest has driven the evolution of ultra-lightweight seats such as the TiSeat from French manufacturer Expliseat. Its lightest economy seat version, the E1, is available from as little as four kg, albeit not available in a staggered formation. Meanwhile, the Formula One-inspired AIRTEK business class seat is set to potentially disrupt the segment with its 91 kg.
What is most important to you when it comes to airplane seating? Have you ever had a run-in with your seat neighbor over the arm-rest? What is the rule for the arm-rest really, in your opinion? Tell us about it in the comments below.