Dubai, UAE (CNN) – Flying in an economy class cabin over long distances can be stressful, but an airline seat designer believes its design could revolutionize budget travel.
The “Chaise Longue” aircraft seat concept, conceived by Alejandro Nunez Vicente, began to be implemented on a small scale last year, as part of a university project, when he was 21 years old.
The Economy Class seat concept was nominated for the Crystal Cabin Awards 2021, the industry premium award, and the design gained online attention following an article on CNN.
Since then, Vicente Nunez has caused a stir in the aviation world by negotiating with famous airlines and seat manufacturers.
And he got some big investments that allowed him to develop the project.
But while some marvel at Núñez Vicente’s innovation, others are concerned about the issue of claustrophobia – especially that sitting under another passenger would be worse, not better, than the current organization of Economy Class seats.
He benefits more from hearing criticism and negative criticism than from hearing good ones and compliments, Nunez Vicente told CNN in Hamburg, Germany, where he is showing his design for the first time at AIX 2022.
Created with the everyday traveler in mind, Nunez Vicente emphasizes that he wants to hear what potential travelers have to say, whether they be positive or negative feedback.
He explained, “My goal being here is to change economy class countries for what is in the interest of humanity, or for all the people who can not afford to pay for expensive tickets.”
The 21-year-old will receive more comments this week as he unveils a comprehensive prototype of his design for the first time at AIX, one of the largest aviation exhibitions in the world.
CNN was keen to test the seat to see what it would be like to sit in it in a two-level cabin.
Nunez Vicente designed the two-step cabin prototype that the passenger would use to reach the upper level.
Although it requires care, but once in the seat, the passenger can feel comfortable in the space available, as there is enough space to extend the legs.
Although the prototype of the seats does not move, the seats are placed in different positions to show how to lie on them.
The design eliminates the presence of the upper luggage compartment, instead, Nunez Vicente designed a space between the upper and lower levels to accommodate passenger luggage inside the cabin.
In the spacious halls buzzing at the Hamburg Congress Center, where the exhibition is being held, it is hard to imagine what it would be like to actually be so close to the cabin ceiling.
Nunez Vicente believes there will be a distance of 1.5 meters, separating the passenger sitting on the upper level from the roof of the plane.
He explained that the passenger can not stand straight in that space, which is experienced by many passengers who can not stand straight in the ranks of the regular economy class, although it is assumed that taller passengers will experience more tightness with this design.
As for the lower level of the seats, the original idea that inspired the Nunez Vicente model was the lack of legroom in the Economy Class cabin. With the lack of a front seat, it offers legroom and backrest for added comfort from the design.
However, the passenger can feel cramped because the other level of the seats is directly above and at eye level.
But if tight spaces do not bother you and you just plan to sleep throughout the flight, this seat can offer an effective solution for comfort.
Initially, the “Chaise Longue” seat concept was designed for a “Flying-V”, a new aircraft concept currently under development at Delft University of Technology, where Nunez Vicente taught.
Nunez Vicente believes the design can be implemented inside a Boeing 747, an Airbus A330 or any other medium and large aircraft.
Núñez Vicente is convinced that his ambitious design can become a reality, but he also acknowledges that the strange ideas of airplane seats often do not cross the concept stage to become a reality.
During this lengthy process, strict aviation industry rules and regulations can become barriers to project implementation.
In addition, the economy class seat on the plane has not changed for decades, although some stylists have rethought the concepts of these seats.
However, the seat designer is already working on the next step, designing the seat frame to be lighter than the current model.
Vicente Nunez hopes to work with an airline or seat manufacturer to accomplish this.
“Right now, we tell the market what we have. We let the market come and tell us what we need to do next,” he said.