With countries moving into phase 2 and 3 or the COVID-19 re-opening of business, we are slowly seeing the return to full flights, and airlines are doing their best to reconcile revenue with safety. See our fellow travel writer Tim Leffel’s recent experience on American Airlines. It took a designer to tackle the issue of social distancing on a plane a step further.
Some airlines are doing their best to accommodate passengers such as Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines). However, the distance between the aisle and middle seat is less than the six feet required by the federal government’s social distancing guidelines. And it doesn’t effectively deal with the adjacent rows. A French engineer Florian Barjot and his company EarthBay developed a new seat add-on, called PlanBay. It is an alternative to true six-feet-apart social distancing on airplanes.
The design keeps the seat and rows intact. Unlike other designs that feature reversible middle seats but add numerous barriers to effectively create a cocoon of safety.
Three different barriers are included in the design.
1. A vertical barrier to separate the aisle and window seats. 2. A horizontal barrier to block from the row directly behind, and 3. head-level dividers.
The kit is one solid piece, which can be strapped to the middle seat. It also fills the gaps in between the seats to further divide the rows from each other. The design also accounts for in-flight entertainment, contouring accordingly as to not obstruct seat-back screens. Overhead air vents will also be unobstructed, which aid in providing clean, filtered air directly to the passengers below.
The design is patent-pending and is just awaiting an airline to take interest in the concept. Will this make you feel comfortable to fly? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Governor General Award recipient Helen Hatzis lives to travel. A xenophile at heart, she continues to travel the world and shares her experience on Trip Jaunt, an online travel community and hub she co-founded in 2016. Helen is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association and the Academy of Canadian Film and Television.