It’s not big news that airplanes are uncomfortable – in fact, as airlines push for even more sales per flight, seats have actually gotten smaller in recent years. Yes, that’s annoying to potential passengers stuck with a mode of transport that’s hard on the knees, but Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa have come up with an alternative for the old airplane seat.
The concept design, made jointly by the automaker and the German airline, sports a luxury style using what’s called a spiral layout to make everything smooth, free-flowing, and generally as penthouse as possible.
Instead of using what we think of as an airplane seat – even the first class, reclining versions – this design replaces them entirely with circling sofas, modern coffee tables rising from the floor, little side nooks, and quite sleeping compartments.
Not only does it look cool, but the concept also features some state-of-the-art “Magic Sky” technology from Mercedes-Benz that can switch transparent panels from black to transparent, depending on what kind of view passengers prefer. Lounge chairs recline by walls that are actually smart screens, able to chart destinations, show location, or transform into windows as desired. Some of the concept art even shows onboard fish tanks in the private sleeping bunks (do mile-high fish dream of aquatic sheep?).
Two points: First, this is obviously pie in the sky for now, with Lufthansa and Mercedes-Benz preparing some far-out jet concepts for wooing investors and extra-rich clientele. Second, this design is aimed at private jets, so it’s unlikely to come to your local passenger-crammed plane even when these airy designs are a physical reality – airlines wouldn’t dream of wasting so much space where they could instead fit more little seats.
However, that doesn’t mean commercial airlines can’t take a few notes from the concept. Those Magic Sky panels, for example, wouldn’t take up any extra space and look super cool to boot. Lets try to get those in our next multi-hour flights, okay?