Skift Take

Innovation is good—so long as invention does not become the mother of necessity. We don’t want to write stories about ‘Rebel Yell’ incidents in the cabin. Really. We don’t.

A new player has entered the field of aircraft seat design and plans to reveal the prototypes of its new theatre-style Rebel seat at this year’s upcoming Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in April.

The thinking behind the Rebel seat design is to make it easier on passengers to get in and out of rows — the seat bottom cushions flip up just as they do in the theatre. The seat bottom fits into the seat back so passengers can opt for a seated or standing/seated position to stretch their legs, whichever they prefer.

To ensure both seating positions are safe, the Rebel is outfitted with a three-point safety belt harness—similar to the safety belts on flight attendant and pilot seats.

Designer and creator Gareth Burks tells us: “The inspiration behind the design was born from years of frustration of seeing identical seats released year after year with no company actually sitting down and looking at all the issues that the average passenger has. So we started with a blank sheet of paper and a set of the standard rules and regulations, and set about giving the passenger the maximum amount of space they were allowed to have. With the seat not having a recline mechanism each passenger now has full control over the space that they have purchased which we are referring to as the ‘passenger envelope.’”

Burks is not giving out a lot of details on how that ‘passenger envelope’ unfolds. Instead, the creative behind the Rebel has theatrically chosen to build up the suspense, making the reveal in Hamburg this April more dramatic. But Burks has shared some key facts.

  • A 28-inch pitch on this seat should feel more like 30 to 31 inches.
  • The seat is child-friendly, serving as a booster seat when the bottom is folded up into the back.

And Burke gave us a helpful summary of features which includes a product rendering.

A rendering of the Rebel Seat.

A rendering of the Rebel Seat.

We’ll have to wait and see the seat for ourselves, but we suspect that the budget in-flight movie experience will apply. It isn’t designed to hold in-flight entertainment systems and will require a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) entertainment option. Bring your own snacks too, as it’s targeted at budget airlines. The Rebel is intended for short-haul flights, and, for a short while, BYOD entertainment and theatre seating could work.

Rebel is not the first company to propose flip-up seat bottoms or standup seating — even a combination of the two — but we hope this one will earn its name for cleverness, without leaving us crying “more, more, more” for comfort and room.

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Tags: design

Photo credit: A glimpse of the new Rebel seat, to be revealed next month in Hamburg, Germany. Rebel

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