For the past decade or so, airlines and academics have tried to come up with the fastest way to load a plane. For good economic reason: The less time airlines spend boarding passengers, the more revenue-generating flights they can squeeze into a day.
Every minute cut on boarding can save $30 per flight, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Air Transport Management.
Some airlines load from the back of the cabin to the front while others load passengers in the window seats first and work their way in.
Now a Denver-based airline interior designer has a new idea to cut the load time: An aisle seat that slides away from the aisle and ends up on top of the middle seat, expanding the aisle space from 19 inches to 43 inches. So, then after boarding on each row is completed, the aisle seat is slid back into position.
With a wider aisle, Malon Labe Designs said its Slider Seat can cut loading time in half. The downside is that the seats have very little cushion and do not recline.
Hank Scott, founder of the company, said he has shown the design to aircraft builders Airbus and Boeing Co. and is working to build a prototype by November.
Scott conceded that the seats were designed to save fuel and maximize cabin space for airlines on short-haul flights of less than three hours.
“I’m not going to tell you it’s a comfortable seat,” he said. “It’s a quick, turn-around seat.”
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