How do you feel about facing your seatmate during a flight?
It’s a question being asked by the company Zodiac Aerospace, which developed an airplane row in which the window and aisle passengers face forward and the middle passenger faces backward. Therefore, the middle passenger sits facing the other two. The seats are similar to movie theater seats in that they swivel up once a passenger stands.
The idea, presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo earlier this month in Germany, is still just a concept and is only being proposed for short-haul flights.
“It’s a different way of traveling, with people facing each other,” said Pierre-Antony Vastra, a Zodiac Aerospace executive VP, at the expo, reports runwaygirlnetwork.com.
However, it’s not a new concept. Britain’s Premium Aircraft Interiors Group proposed it at a trade show seven years ago, saying the configuration would provide passengers more elbow, shoulder, and legroom while “fold-out privacy shields” would provide a barrier to nosy neighbors. Furthermore, it claimed airlines could fit more people on the flight.
While aviation experts say rear-facing seats are more safe in the event of an accident or crash, some question whether this set up would impede evacuation in the event of an emergency. And then there’s the comfort level of flyers. Do passengers want to be face-to-face with their neighbors? It’s bad enough when you are stuck next to a rude, noisy, insert-adjective-here flyer (see our 5 annoying things people do on flights post). Now you may have to make eye contact with the culprit as well.
What do you think? Would you want to sit face-to-face with fellow flyers?