This Concept Allows You To Expand The Width Of An Aircraft Aisle

Congestion in the aisle is a major bug-bear for the frequent flier and impacts airlines’ abilities to speed…

This Concept Allows You To Expand The Width Of An Aircraft Aisle

Congestion in the aisle is a major bug-bear for the frequent flier and impacts airlines’ abilities to speed up their turnaround time. This seat concept, developed under a European project known as PASSME, effectively doubles the width of a narrowbody aisle, allowing passengers to pass one another and get to their seats more quickly.

sliding seat PASSME
The PASSME seat doubles the width of a narrowbody aisle. Photo: PASSME

Eliminating aisle congestion

There’s nothing worse than finally being called to board a flight and then having to stand around in a congested aisle, waiting for some guy in front to jam his huge bag into the overhead compartment. Aisle congestion is one of the most significant reasons for less than optimal turnaround times, and it’s a problem airlines have been trying to crack for years.

Many have tried different tactics, such as boarding back to front, boarding in groups, or discouraging large items of carry-on baggage. Nothing, so far, has been the magic answer. For many airlines, particularly low-costs, it remains something of a free-for-all and one of the most stressful moments of the trip.

But this seat concept aims to take that stress out of the equation, with a unique mechanism that allows airlines to physically widen the aisle. Rather than a squeezy 16 inches of aisle width – impossible to pass by another passenger, the PASSME seat concept increases this width to a generous 32 inches, enough for anyone to pass by easily.

A mechanism under the seat allows the group of three to compress together for boarding and disembarkation. Photo: Almadesign

The sliding aircraft seat

The concept is simple enough; the concept works via a sort of scissor mechanism contained under each group of three seats. Folding up the armrests allows the group of three to be squeezed together sideways, reducing the width by around 2.6 inches per seat.

While the narrower seat wouldn’t be too comfortable for long periods of travel, it’s only a temporary issue. Once passengers are seated, and as the crew traverse the cabin to check backrests and tray tables, a push of a button will allow the seats to expand to their full width, locking safely into place.

This small increase achieved by compressing the seats together effectively doubles the width of a typical 737 aisle. As a result, the project partners state that boarding time for an aircraft could be reduced from the typical 20 minutes down to just five to seven minutes.

Of course, there is a weight penalty to pay due to the additional mechanism under the seat. Across an entire Boeing 737, that would equate to around 5% additional weight. However, the designers believe this could easily be offset by the operational benefits it achieves.

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sliding seat PASSME
The concept is ready for the industry to develop it further. Photo: PASSME

The PASSME Project

PASSME is the acronym for the European project entitled Personalised Airport Systems for Seamless Mobility and Experience. It’s a collaboration between 12 project partners, including Optimares and Almadesign, coordinated by TU Delft, with the aim of reducing the door-to-door air travel time by 60 minutes.

Working on the seat featured here are Almadesign, who are styling the product, and Optimares, who are developing the seat structure. DLR is assisting with the simulation side of things, while TU Delft is testing and developing the product.

But the PASSME project goes a lot further than just innovative seats. The team is tackling all sorts of different pain points in the travel process, from smartphone apps to luggage flows and passenger demand forecasting for airports.

What do you think of the sliding seat? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More