The Two-decker Aircraft Seat Has Returned - Here’s What It Looks Like Now
The two-decker aircraft seat has returnedand here is how it seems right now. On paper, it may not seem enticing, but Alejandro Núñez Vicente, a 23-year-old airline seat designer, believes double-level sitting represents the future of economical travel.
Would you seat right beneath another person on an airplane? You may have seen a photo of Núñez Vicente's prototype Chaise Longue Airplane Seat floating around the internet.
Following a CNN Travel exclusive last year, Núñez Vicente's notion went viral, sparking passionate discussion and a rush of emotions from would-be passengers, some offended, some confused, some fascinated, and some all of the above.
Núñez Vicente tells CNN Travel:
To be honest, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Proving this sentiment, he’s back at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany – showcasing a new iteration of his controversial Chaise Longue. People can talk and they always hate innovation in some ways. Most of the times when they show you something new, everyone hates it at first, they’re scared of change. But the more you show it, and the more you develop it, and the more they see it, the more they get used to it.- Núñez Vicente
Núñez Vicente's idea began tiny, as a college project in 2021. A nomination for the 2021 Crystal Cabin Awards, the aviation industry's highest honor, propelled the design into the public eye. Núñez Vicente placed his master's degree on hold to devote all of his time, money, and energies to making his idea a reality.
Today, Núñez Vicente has sponsors, collaboration partnerships, and is in constant contact with "the biggest players in the industry." He believes his two-tiered airplane seat is the future of economical travel and is working tirelessly to make it a reality.
When prospective Passengers shudder at the prospect of claustrophobia, and detractors claim the design is all about airlines squeezing more seats onto flights, but Núñez Vicente maintains they have misconstrued his objectives. For starters, he is not attempting to eliminate traditional airline seats entirely.
Núñez Vicente imagines an airplane cabin with the Chaise Longue in the center, flanked by two rows of standard aviation seating. He is aware that the seat will not be acceptable or appealing to everyone, even though he believes it may be more comfortable for some passengers.
Núñez Vicente, who is 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 meters), has spent many a crowded trip straining for legroom and trying to sleep. He claims he created the Chaise Longue to address the airline seat problem, not to exacerbate it.
Nonetheless, the designer concedes that the Chaise Longue's attractiveness for airlines is the greater passenger headcount.
Many airlines and many big players of the industry are trying to push us to put more passengers into the aircraft. It’s not our main priority and our main goal, but with this kind of design it’s also possible.- Núñez Vicente
Núñez Vicente's latest prototype will be examined by a bevy of airline executives at this year's Aircraft Interiors Expo. He says he's always happy to hear from the business, but he'd also want to hear from other would-be visitors.
When the Chaise Longue made newsin 2022, Núñez Vicente says he had several inquiries from individuals who wanted to test the prototype in his hometown of Madrid, Spain.
CNN Travel was first to test the latest Chaise Longue prototype at AIX 2023. It seems "realer" than last year's proof of concept. There are four rows, two top and two bottom, and the repurposed airplane seats from 1995 ("they're older than me," says Núñez Vicente) recline, making it easier to imagine this structure on an aircraft.
With slight alterations, the new design retains the double-level idea. A stronger set of ladder-like stairs now leads to the summit. Bottom-level luggage now fits beneath the seat in front of you. Personal gadgets might replace built-in screens for inflight entertainment.
Nonetheless, Núñez Vicente believes the double-level construction might eventually be applied to any airline cabin class. He also revealed drawings of a premium economy version of the Chaise Longue, which is essentially the same design but without the lower middle seat.
And, while the road ahead may be lengthy, and the design may not appeal to everyone, Núñez Vicente is confident in its potential.