Editor’s note – Monthly Tickets is a CNN Travel series that focuses on some of the most interesting topics in the travel world. In June, we are going to the sky to see the latest developments in the interior of the aircraft, including those we are working to change the way we fly.
Hamburg (CNN) – Flying economy for any extended period of time is an experience to be endured rather than enjoyed in general, but an aircraft seat designer believes that its design can revolutionize budget travel.
Since then, Nunez Vicente has been making waves in the world of aviation. He has suspended his master’s degree to pursue the project full time. It is in talks with major airlines and seat manufacturing companies. It has allowed some heavy investments to develop the project.
But while some nunas are surprised by Vicente’s novelty, others turn back, worried about claustrophobia and sure sitting under someone else will be worse than the current airplane economy setup, not better.
Speaking to CNN Travel in Hamburg, Germany, Nunez Vicente says, “I thrive more on listening to good comments and hearing bad comments.” At the 2022 Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX).
Their design is for everyday travelers, so Nunez Vicente says he’s eager to hear what the flyers have to say, positive or negative.
“My goal here is to change economy class seats for the good of humanity or for all those who cannot afford to pay for more expensive tickets,” he says.
Núñez Vicente is set to receive more feedback this week. AIX is one of the largest aviation shows in the world, and is premiering the first full-scale prototype of its design.
CNN Travel paused to get a taste of what a double decker airplane seat might look like.
Tested out of concept
AIX 2022 Chase Longu Airplane Seat on display at Hamburg.
Francesca Street / CNN
First up, top level. Núñez Vicente’s has designed a prototype with two stair-like steps for tourists to reach the upper level. It’s a little unsettling, but once I get there, the seat feels spacious and comfortable, and there’s plenty of room to stretch my legs. The prototype seats do not move, but they are each set up in a different position to show how loose they can be.
Nunez Vicente’s design eliminates the overhead cabin. Instead, it has designed space between the upper and lower levels to hold cabin luggage for tourists.
It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like to be so close to the cabin ceiling, in the huge, resonant hall of the Hamburg Mess Conference Center. Nunez Vicente estimates it will be about 1.5 meters, separating the passenger from the top of the plane. He argues that while tourists cannot stand upright in that space, many cannot already stand upright in the ranks of the regular economy – however, most likely, these tall tourists will be more bored with this design.
Next, try the bottom row of seats. Nunez Vicente’s frustration with the lack of legroom was the original motivation for the design, and since I don’t have a seat at the same level in front of me, it allows me to lengthen my legs, and have leg comfort for extra comfort.
However, because the other level seats are above me and in the line of my eye, it seems very claustrophobic. But if you don’t mind tight spaces, and you’re just planning to sleep in all the flights, that might be an effective solution.
In places like Cocoon there is a one foot stall for travelers to stretch their legs.
Francesca Street / CNN
Now, he believes that the design can be applied to large wide body airplanes through Boeing 747, Airbus A330 or any other medium.
Nunez Vicente is ambitious and confident that his design could become a reality, but he also acknowledges that the idea of an unusual airplane seat often does not make it from concept to reality. It is a lengthy process, and the industry’s strict rules and regulations can be a hindrance.
Also, the airplane economy seat hasn’t really changed in decades, even though there have been many new ideas introduced by designers.
“One of the lines I get a lot is, ‘If it’s not broken, why change?'” Nunez Vicente confessed. “So if passengers still fly on the worst economy class seats, why would we give them a better option? They make money. At the end of the day the airline’s goal is not to make your flight better.”
Nonetheless, the seat designer is already working on the next step in its process, with engineering to make the structure lighter than its current iteration.
It hopes to partner with the airline or seat manufacturer to do so.
“Right now, we’re showing the market what we have. And we let the market come in and tell us what we need to do next,” he says.
Nunez Vicente may now collaborate with industry experts with years of experience, but the project began in her bedroom in her parents’ home, and her family is a big part of the process.
He is in Toma with his parents at AIX – they drove the Chase Longu prototype in a van across Europe and helped him set up a seat in the in-situ.
“Of course, in the beginning, no one expected us to be as big as we are today. But they all knew I could do something,” says Nunez Vicente.
“If you had asked me before, I would have said that maybe this is just a university project. If you ask me now, then [work], After a lot of people’s efforts – I would say this is more of a reality now. We see it as the future of the economy class. “