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Rock Street, San Francisco

Have you ever sat on an airline seat and wondered why it was so uncomfortable? You’d think that if you are flying on such a superior aerospace design that they would’ve at least spent more time designing seats that were comfortable. Perhaps it was the wrong size, shape, or it just didn’t feel right. Maybe it felt good when you sat down, but five hours later, you didn’t feel so good did you?

Maybe this has happened to you, perhaps you sat in an airline seat, and considered it was one of the most comfortable seats you’ve ever sat in. This happened to me not too long ago, and I made a statement to my friend that I would like to take this seat home with me for my living room. Still, why aren’t all seats like that in all airliners? I have a theory about this and comes from a conversation I had at the clubhouse last year with a Boeing aerospace designer and fleet engineers.

He explained to me that he started out designing toilets and the bathrooms inside of Boeing airliners before he ever got to work on the airframe or subsystems. In other words they gave him the not so fun stuff to design. It seems that the more senior aerospace engineers are working on all the cool stuff, and it took him years to get to that point. In the meanwhile working on all the not so fun stuff certainly weeded out the field, and with the advent of computer CADCAM designing software, many of those early engineers working back then simply were no longer needed, or could not make the transition.

Yes, you want an efficient airliner, you need one that saves fuel, carries more weight, and is completely safe in every regard. Granted, we know this, that’s the goal. Nevertheless, for the end-user, that is to say the customer, not just the airline which buys the aircraft, you should be thinking about their comfort. Especially if you want them to request let’s say a 787 FMS, rather than flying on an aircraft maintenance if they have the choice.

As far as I’m concerned with the level of technological skill that we have today, and the brilliant designers that we have, there’s no reason every single seat shouldn’t be the most comfortable seat that you’ve ever sat down on in your life. They make enough of these seats, so there are economies of scale to pay for the extra time in getting it absolutely perfect.

In the Wall Street Journal there was an article on November 24, 2012 titled; “Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy the Pummeling – Stressed, tense and tired? These high-end massage chairs are engineered to know your wants, and knead,” by Michael Hsu. Interestingly enough, these seats pictured with that article look very familiar in many ways to those seats in airliners today, well at least the fancy first-class seats or those you’d find on Emirates Airline. There is no reason those seats that are going people’s living rooms can’t be made out of lightweight material. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Post Author: Inga Withrow