Aircraft seating can benefit from a new player, Toyota Boshoku, which has a fresh perspective and plenty of experience in other transport sectors. These seats are a clever innovation and likely to please more passengers over time than the R2-D2 livery—awesome as that livery is.
After launching its Star Wars campaign and R2-D2 livery, All Nippon Airways (ANA) promised new initiatives to improve the passenger experience. The Japanese airline has begun putting those words into action to the benefit of its Economy passengers.
In a partnership with automotive and rail seating experts at Toyota Boshoku, Japan, the airline has revealed new seats for its domestic 737-300 aircraft which make the most of available space while striving for optimum ergonomic passenger comfort.
By the numbers, the seats are nothing out of the ordinary. The width is a modest 17.5 inches, the pitch is 31 inches and the cabin is laid out in a seven across 2-3-2 layout. But these new seats prove that comfort is about much more than inches.
The structure itself was designed to accommodate a range of body sizes and types, using Toyota Boshoku’s previous experience designing seats for compact, luxury and racing cars. The focus of Toyota Boshoku was to ensure adequate support and the appropriate incline to reduce muscle fatigue around the hip and by firmly supporting the pelvis it helps passengers maintain a more restful posture.
The company also considered the usability of the various seat elements in-flight, testing a range of angles to find the ideal height and contour of tray tables and armrests so that they too would accommodate passengers regardless of size.
The headrests are rounded to increase the sense of space but also to widen a passenger’s field of view and the seat is designed to be covered in fabric at eye-level for what the manufacturer describes as “a soft and welcoming atmosphere.”
This seat reflects a growing trend among seat designers and manufacturers to consider the structural design of aircraft seating to fit the body’s contours.
By applying learning gleaned from other transport sectors, without preconceptions built-in to the aviation industry over the years,Toyota Boshoku has also helped ANA shed new light on the comfort possibilities in Economy seating. Its practicality also ensures the fundamentals which keep the Economy cabin viable and competitive.
These new seats will be introduced on domestic flights this summer. ANA plans to have installed a total of 1,560 seats across six Boeing 767-300 aircraft by 2016.
Photo credit: New ANA economy seats by Toyota Boshoku. ANA