High Time Comfort: Introducing the Interspace

Aircraft and Innovation
Ahmed El Dahan
min read
October 26, 2021

Away from first and business class cabins, where guests are treated to lavish seven-course meals complemented with unlimited refills of champagne sleeping tight on ergonomic seats; economy flyers are always given the less than pleasant experience, be it through canteen-style food trays, cramped lavatories and of course, the long-haul battle over arm-rests on back breaking seats. 

Any dash of generosity that makes the coach experience better goes a long way. Whenever innovation arrives that enhances the economy passengers experience, heads are turned - from the most basic adjustable neck and footrests. And so this year's Crystal Cabin Awards winner - the Interspace - winged seat has done just so.

This is achieved with a folding backrest, which can be manipulated to form a wing shaped rest on both the left and right sides of the seats. When properly adjusted, the interspace gives passengers a padded surface to lean on whilst isolating them from their cabin companions, thus leading to a deeper sleep in a heightened sense of personal space.

With a design from the drawing boards of Universal Movement (UM), the basic premise of these upgraded seats is that they provide added comfort and increased privacy for premium economy and domestic business travelers. The company, based in London was launched in 2019 and focuses on passenger-comfort design solutions. Encouragingly, Interspace is UM’s first product release.

After thorough research in passenger flight experience, UM uncovered that economy seats generally lack lateral support. As a result the majority of seats restrict cervical rotation and place pressure above the hip area, whilst headrests fail to provide ample support for the upper body and shoulders. 

Following the exposition of the new seat design in the Cabin Innovation Summit in December 2019, a partnership with the Safran Seats division was announced in June 2020, with the French aviation giant hoping to see the seats through to post-Covid 19 skies.

Safran is a well known international aviation technology group specialising in the aviation propulsion, material and interiors along with defense and space industries. It is a world leader in the domain of seats, with one million of its seats utilised globally. 

Commenting on the new partnership -UM founder and Chief Creative Officer Luke Miles said “When we launched the Interspace seat last year(2019), we had established a clear gap in the aerospace seating market with an innovative new design. We are thrilled to be partnering with a company as significant and accomplished as Safran to bring this portfolio of products to market.”

Also expressing his enthusiasm for the partnership Quentin Munier, EVP Strategy & Innovation at Safran Seats said, “The Interspace innovation will create real value for our customers thanks to its agility greatly enhancing comfort for sleep and defining personal space. We’re delighted our partnership with Universal Movement has delivered this product to market at such a time where commercial travel is opening up once again.”

In addition, the Interspace Lite is another variation of the seat that will be provided in regular economy cabins. It differs from the original design in that it does not give each seat the winged rest, instead placing a secluding wedge between economy seats to give passengers a sense of isolation, albeit not enhancing their quality of sleep.

To the gratitude of airline companies, the Interspace seats are easily integratable; being retrofittable with current economy seats, or conveniently fostered into new cabin designs, Safran has stressed that the cutting edge design complies with modern weight and certification needs. In the end airlines can efficiently install Interspace seats without much added costs or periods of AOG. 

Combined with being targeted to the premium economy and domestic business markets, their efficient installation and comforting allure means that airline profitability can be significantly boosted with passengers snoozing in tranquility.

A New Day

Now more than ever, the world needs to improve the passenger flight experience. As the covid-19 pandemic trickles towards its end, aviation companies are in desperate need to recover from the heavy toll it inflicted. Furthermore in the post-covid-19 world, segregation and social distancing will continue to be pressing points for airlines to address. By increasing in-flight satisfaction, innovations like the Interspace will go to great lengths in encouraging passengers to rekindle their flight routine, whilst hampering their mid-flight contact. 

At Eways Aviation, we highly encourage such top of the line comfort solutions and are always prepared to equip our clients with leading cabin technologies. 

Ahmed El Dahan
Aviation Journalist
A seasoned writer, Ahmed El Dahan was trained in Journalism and Mass Communication in the American University in Cairo. He then moved on to refine his writing skills working in various publications covering such topics as tourism, art exhibitions, music along with being a food critic. Relocating to Paris in 2015, he has an ever growing curiosity for the aviation industry. Away from the page, Dahan is an active professional saxophonist.

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