Move – a better seat coming to airline economy class?

Airbus and design agency Layer have presented the innovative “Move” economy seat for airlines, offering smart textiles to adjust to the individual needs of economy passengers, promising more comfort at the back of the plane. After years of shrinking legroom, reduced seat padding and recline and elimination of food and drinks, this is the first good news for economy travelers in a while. Find out what to expect from the Layer “Move” seat.

For years, airlines have invested heavily into their premium cabins, installing flat-bed seats in business class, showers and bars in First Class and delivering dine-on-demand, chef-cooked meals and luxury brand amenities.
At the other end of the plane, in Economy Class, a race to the bottom has been the name of the game, installing seats at ever tighter pitch, thinning seat cushions into “slimline” designs that are only bearable for an hour or two and eliminating food and drink without pay. In return for ever-lower fares, the experience has become worse and worse, making long economy flights a dreadful experience on many airlines.

Airbus has made an effort to propose more comfortable seating, pushing a larger seat-width on their planes compared to competitor Boeing, and proposing various seat designs. The latest innovation comes in partnership with design agency Layer. They have designed a new seat for short-haul flights that utilizes a thin, smart fabric with embedded sensors that can monitor seat tension or temperature. Passengers can adjust their seat via an app to their size and needs. The seats feature modes like “mealtime”, “sleep” or even “massage”, something usually only found in Business or First Class. The smartphone app can also remind passengers to do some stretches or get up for a walk.
The seatback contains a tray, smart device holder and power outlets. The assembly is high-adjustable for individual needs as well as legroom.

“Move” Seat, courtesy of Airbus

Looking at the pictures provided by Layer and Airbus, the seat does look very, very thin and has no recline. This should allow airlines to squeeze in plenty of seats and limit the weight to allow for cost savings, making the operators happy.
I do appreciate the innovation in the seat fabric. The current approach has been to eliminate padding and current generations of slimline seats are just very uncomfortable, regardless of what the airlines promise – less padding, less comfortable! This innovation makes me hopeful that less material can be more comfortable and is much appreciated. 
So far, no airline has announced a decision to purchase, to it might be a while for us to try this out. I’ll reserve my judgement until I’ve had a chance to spend some time in the seat. A seat that looks great in photos or on the showroom floor does not necessarily have to be comfortable. I applaud Airbus and Layer for the innovative approach and look forward to trying it out!

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