The Internet is abuzz this week with two airline seating concepts designed to isolate passengers — thus minimizing the risks of spreading viruses and other germs.
Both designs have their good and bad. Below are my thoughts. And I also want to hear your opinions, too!
The Janus Seat
The Janus Seat — designed by Avio Interiors — features two forward-facing seats (the aisle and window), with the middle seat looking toward the back.
Each passenger is surrounded on three sides by a shield “that prevents the breath propagation to occupants of adjacent seats.”
Janus Seat Pros
There are several features I find attractive here. Unfortunately, most of them are only good for solo travelers (or those avoiding their companions).
I’m usually not the chatty type on flights. It’s nothing personal — I’m just shy in person. These shields help preserve my personal space and let me stay in my imaginary cocoon.
No Elbow Bumping
Glory, glory, hallelujah! The design seems to prevent elbows (and other body parts) from bumping into those of the passenger(s) seated next to you.
I like something protecting me from other people’s germs. But I’m not certain this would work as planned. Why? That’s first on my list of cons.
Janus Seat Cons
An Illusion of Safety?
If you really think airlines will clean every inch of these shields between each flight, I have some oceanfront property in North Dakota you’ll love.
Peep and Creep
Check out the dude sitting in the aisle seat. From this depiction, he can totally stare at the middle seat occupant — and vice versa. And the person sitting in the middle can gaze at the nice lady sitting in the aisle seat.
Difficult for Conversations
When I travel with family or colleagues, we (usually) enjoy talking with each other. I don’t see how that’s possible with the Janus design.
Terrible for Families
My family sits together when we travel because we need to.
My wife and I have a three-year-old who — despite her protests — needs help during the flight. This seating arrangement simply does not work for us.
Even if the shields could be removed, it wouldn’t make me comfortable as a parent. (Cue the “Kids Shouldn’t Fly!” contingent 😉 )
(Although in about 10 years, my then-teenage daughter will love this concept; it’ll isolate her from my wife and me 🙂 . )
The Glassafe Concept
Avio Interiors’ other design released this week is the “Glassafe” — a “kit-level solution that can be installed on existing seats to make close proximity safer among passengers sharing the same seat.”
(I think they meant sharing the same row. “Sharing the same seat” is a tad more intimate.)
No Awkward or Uncomfortable Sightlines
This eliminates the “Peep and Creep” concern I have with the Janus seats.
Requires Little — if Any — Major Retrofitting
Because these shields can be installed on existing seats, it saves airlines the costs of retrofitting their planes — like they must for the Janus design.
And when airline costs go up, we pay for them.
Better for Families and Companions
This certainly is a better option than the Janus for families, companions, and colleagues traveling together.
If each seat has its own shield — as is depicted in the sample photo — how much tighter are we squeezed into our seats? (Although it appears there’s a cutout for some arm space.)
Reduced Window Viewing?
It looks as though window seat passengers have the shield between them and the window — thus hampering the view.
Just like with the Janus seats, this option looks like more work — and expense — for airlines. And who knows how often they’ll actually clean them?
Quick, final thought on the Glassafe shields. They remind me of the new first class seats Delta announced they’ll install on new A321neos.
Both concepts offer a lot — but include their drawbacks. I sort of prefer the Janus design for solo travel — and would have to get over my self-consciousness 🙂 . But it’s a no-fly for me when it comes to family travel.
The Glassafe is an interesting approach — and certainly the better option for families with young children. But I don’t know how comfortable we’d be.
What Do You Think?
Is either of these isolation concepts good with you? Do you like them both?
Cabin crews who read the blog — I think most other readers would love your input, too!
Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
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