New Aircraft Seats
Americans may be getting larger, but airline seats are slimming down. Lighter materials and ergonomic designs have reduced the weight and bulk of economy-class seats, but does that translate into more room for passengers? While thinner seats can free up all-important leg and knee room, some airlines see the additional space as an opportunity to add more seats. “It’s simple economics,” says Boeing executive Blake Emery. “The more space passengers have, the more it’s going to cost. The most expensive real estate on the planet doesn’t compare to an airplane’s real estate—the cost per square footage is off the scale. ”The good news on long-haul flights: Aircraft and seat manufacturers now work together to integrate state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment systems into new seatback designs, so you’ll be distracted for hours with high-definition screens; a dizzying array of movies, audio, video and games; and capacitive touchscreens that can be controlled with light taps of the finger. On the horizon: 3-D capability.