Could this Be the World’s First Lie-Flat Airline Seat For Economy Class?


As airlines look for new and innovative ways to optimize both passenger numbers and the distance between them, various new seat configurations are being considered. So far, we have seen Plexiglas barriers between all seats and a configuration with middle seats facing the back of the plane. The latest entry in the airline seating sweepstakes comes from San Francisco startup Zephyr Aerospace as it introduces a new social distancing-compliant airline seat and bed combo for premium economy passengers that is either ingenious or hair-brained.

Zephyr is an airline seating concept that looks to transform the seats in premium economy class on wide-body aircraft into lie-flat “double-decker” seating, offering a comfortable bed with all-aisle access in a 2-4-2 configuration, the same density as existing premium economy set-ups on 90 percent of airlines worldwide. If not too claustrophobic, this idea would allow economy-class travelers to have the privacy to sit, lie flat, sleep and maintain social distancing all in the same seat (see video above).

Zephyr’s non-mechanical sleep seats have limited movable fixtures and are made with the highest standard lightweight composite materials, reducing direct maintenance costs for airlines. A telescopic ladder provides quick and easy access to the upper area and can be removed after boarding. The drop-down footwell cover increases personal space in each seat, which allows for multiple lie-flat positions. There is even space for small children and families to lie next to each other dependent on FAA regulations and an airline’s social distancing rules. Airlines could possibly retrofit these sleep seats between a 38- and 42-inch seat pitch based on their preferences and industry standards. For more information, visit

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