New Airplane Seat Design Could Make Sleeping in Economy Class Easier

Blending innovation and comfort for long flights

Seat design
Universal Movement's airplane seat design emphasizes comfort and privacy.
Universal Movement

When you’ve booked a flight in economy class and are trying to sleep, it’s not always the easiest thing in the world. Even if you’ve sprung for extra legroom, you’re still faced with the difficult task of sleeping in something that’s not exactly designed to hold a sleeping body. Making matters worse, the experience could also lead to aches and pains in the days following your flight — basically, your body’s way of asking what the hell you were thinking.

That said, not everyone can afford to fly in luxurious business class seats every time they travel. Which begs the question: what if economy class was actually conducive to sleeping? It might sound like blasphemy or Andy Kaufman-esque absurdity, but a new airplane seat design has been unveiled that combines affordability with restfulness.

Francesca Street at CNN Travel explored an innovative new seat design called “Interspace,” which might make future redeye flights far more comfortable for slumbering travelers. The company behind the seat is called Universal Movement, and their website contains a bold statement: “We believe that comfort, good posture and well being is a human right irrespective of financial status or social class.” And their founder, Luke Miles, spent three years as Virgin Atlantic’s Head of Design.

Street’s report on Interspace includes an emphasis on the seat design’s innovative use of materials and its commitment to privacy. There are also some common-sense design elements present, including the elimination of a headrest. And it sounds quite comfortable.

Of course, it’s also possible that airlines will get hold of this, install it and create a new section called something like “Economy Premium Sleeper” and charge an extra $200 apiece for it. But it’s nice to dream — especially in a more comfortable seat than what’s currently available.

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