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zodiac aerospace face to face seatsWoe to the flier who’s stuck anywhere near a screaming infant, a guy who snores or a woman who’s unaware of a little something called deodorant. It’s bad enough when you’re wedged next to an undesirable flight companion, but imagine sitting face to face with one (or all) of them.

As reported by Runway Girl Network, a new airplane concept developed by seat manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace would have the window and aisle passengers facing forward and the middle passenger facing backward. Although studies have shown that backward-facing seats are actually safer in the event of an emergency, this would add a whole new level to our loathing of the middle seat and likely create an additional way for airlines to charge for the privilege of sitting near the window or aisle.

Facing your fellow travelers would make it that much harder to politely ignore them if all you want to do is catch a catnap or read that book you’ve been dying to start. Quick! Avert your eyes, lest the overly chatty woman across from you decide to strike up a conversation about her horrible layover, dislike of cats or recent bunion surgery. And imagine trying to eat your airline-provided peanuts in peace without feeling like you’re sitting at a family dinner. Talk about awkward.

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There are also some concerns among fliers about whether the seats’ design would impede the exit of passengers during an evacuation. Some argue it could be a hazard, but others think the design’s fold-up construction (much like a theater seat) might actually help to speed things up by offering extra room while entering and exiting each row.

For now, this arrangement is still in its conceptual stage, and it’s only being proposed for short-haul flights. And there’s a silver lining; since the seats would alternate with regard to the direction they’re facing, passengers would no longer have to worry about fighting for room on armrests or tray tables — a minor victory when personal space is at a premium.

Face-to-face flying: Love it or hate it? Share your opinion in the comments below.

— written by Ashley Kosciolek

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11 Responses to “Face-to-Face Flights? New Seats Could Force Flier Interaction”

  1. acruiseguy says:

    Ok, come on. Wasn’t there SOMEONE in the brainstorming session for creating this idea (a term I use very loosely) with any sense to speak up and say “no way”????


  2. Wynne says:

    Ummmmm…no. Really, no. Most emphatically NO!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Jodie says:

    When you think about it, they already have this feature on some trains. Makes it nice for business meetings. But beyond that, I think it’s a horrible idea. I am already starting a list of people I would not want to sit next to in circumstances like that!

  4. Yardbabe says:

    I want the people above to tell me why they don’t like this? Is it facing the other person? If you’ve ever been in a middle seat this sounds fabulous to me! I think we should try this and see what people really think.

    • JEWEL says:

      I have been in a middle seat a few times but I take the time to pick the seat I want which is the window so I can lean agasint it and away from the middle seat person. I don’t want people facing me. I don’t want to deal with that the whole trip. You get some guy who wants to ‘pick you up’ and yes there are plenty and its annoying, have them facing you the whole trip. Just in general. No I want peace and as much Me space as possible

  5. JEWEL says:

    Absolutely NO. I wont even ride that way on the MAX train. I stand and face forward. It’s already bad enough being smashed against other people but having people facing me? I will pay more to not ever have to do this. If I was ever forced to sit this way ,,,, well that is why I always carry a sarong. I can cover my head and be in my own little world.

    So if reclining the 2 people behind you with the backwards facing chairs… also recline you will be really face to face. NO

  6. Wendy says:

    As someone who gets serious motion sickness when facing backward…I’m not at all for this concept. NO vote from me.

  7. Bob Horgan says:

    The military have rear facing seats on their Transports; EG: C130 C117for safety reasons.

  8. Sven Moller says:

    This is not new. Some old DC-9 airchaft had this configuration at the front with a table between the seats facing each other. This was great for families who require the bulkhead seats

  9. Gay says:

    It’s bad enough that our seat space has shrunk but still it offers some privacy. Imagine two chatty woman across from you for 5 hours or small children kicking at you or that fat man who just snores loudly…..NO, NO, NO!!!!!

  10. Evangaline says:

    OMG!! What are these people smoking? That the airlines would actually take such a dimwit idea seriously explains a lot about the deterioration of air travel.

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