Tired of flying economy? Spanish designer looks to reinvent air travel

A young Spanish designer named Alejandro Núñez Vistah, 23, has come up with an innovative seating concept for the tourist class. 

 Empty plane seats.  (photo credit: JONATHAN CUTRER/FLICKR)
Empty plane seats.

Flight in the economy class can be the worst part of your trip. Dealing with long hours cramped in tightly packed rows of seats can be extremely unpleasant, to say the least. And we haven't even mentioned how every minute in this density feels like an hour.

That's precisely why a young Spanish designer named Alejandro Núñez Vistah, 23, has come up with an innovative seating concept for the economy class. 

These are seats spread over two levels, or in simple terms, double-decker seats. The great advantage of these seats is that they provide passengers with more space without reducing the number of passengers on the flight, so airlines don't have to sacrifice revenue from seats.

Vistah knows firsthand what he's talking about - the designer stands at a height of 1.88 meters (six feet and two inches tall) and suffers from discomfort during his frequent flights.

The 'inflation' risk

You won't get anywhere any faster by standing up before the plane reaches the port, flight attendants say. (credit: Walla)
You won't get anywhere any faster by standing up before the plane reaches the port, flight attendants say. (credit: Walla)

Business Insider reports that these seats, called "Sillonc," have received numerous reactions on various social media platforms. These responses emerged after the seats became a popular focal point at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, an interior design exhibition for aircraft held recently in Hamburg, Germany.

However, those who are particularly concerned about the new design are many TikTok creators and commentators who feat that the arrangement of the new seats will cause the inflated posture of the upper-row passengers to disrupt the comfort of the lower-row passengers.

The designer himself is less concerned about all these reactions and has shared in interviews that many airlines and aircraft manufacturers have already shown significant interest in the concept.

"Apart from the amusing criticism that can be found online, the general feedback is overwhelmingly positive," Vistah said. 

According to him, there is no doubt that the double-decker seat concept will enter mass production and be implemented in passenger planes. For him, the design he presents represents a further step towards space-saving seating options far beyond the traditional concept of single-level seating that we have become accustomed to over the years.

From low to high, from high to low

"By placing passengers on two different levels, it is possible to obtain more space for each passenger while optimizing the circular shape of the aircraft," he explains.

As seen in photos, this is not a seating arrangement where one passenger is directly above or below another, but rather there is a clear spatial separation. 

"Each level offers a different experience. This row is ideal for taller passengers who need ample legroom and for those who want to sleep comfortably during the flight."

In contrast, the upper row may have less legroom, but on the other hand, passengers in this row have comfortable space for working, watching movies or playing video games. 

This is because there is no adjacent seat that limits their ability to enjoy these features. This row is also ideal for shorter passengers.

People are afraid of change

When asked about the issue of odors, Vistah dismisses it. "Those are just background noises. Firstly, inflatables are not bulletproof," he sarcastically remarks. "Secondly, there is a clear physical separation between the seats, which means it's like shooting gas through a window. You can't smell it on the other side."

 Plane seats.  (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Plane seats. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

He also says, reassuringly, that "in most cases, when you show people something new, everyone hates it at first. People are afraid of change. But the more you show it, the more you develop it, and the more people see it, they will get used to it and accept it."

A reassuring message: Window seats will remain on one level

While Vistah understands that the concerns expressed on social media networks are silly to him, he has indeed received feedback in the past that helped him improve his previous prototypes.

"In the previous model, we received comments that, in the end, the seat felt quite claustrophobic. For this reason, this year we completely changed the design of the lower row seats," he explained. "I believe that ultimately, it is an integral part of the design process for new things. You have to continue creating again and again to achieve the final result, the one that everyone will be satisfied with."

And for those who may still feel pressured by the innovative design, it is worth knowing that, according to Vistah, you don't necessarily have to sit in dual-level seats, as this seating arrangement is only possible in the middle section of the passenger plane.

Therefore, the window seats on both sides of the aircraft will still remain at the same level. "In my opinion, it's preferable this way, to provide more options."