Every once in a while, someone will come up with the idea that’s supposedly going to revolutionize flight. A few actually make it to fruition and others, not so much. Some of them have included:
- These lie-flat seats in economy class
- This invention, designed to pack even more people into the cabin
- A way for airlines to potentially charge more for middle seats
With the advent of COVID-19, multiple possibilities started coming out of the woodwork from would-be inventors. Staggered seats, zigzag seats, removable tray tables, transparent bubbles over passengers’ heads, seat fabric that changes color after it’s been cleaned, and many other designs have been suggested; as far as I know none have been approved but none have been officially shot down (yet), either.
However, there’s one of these COVID-era designs that all three of the major airplane manufacturers have announced will definitely NOT be forthcoming.
Plexiglass partitions in between seats.
Representatives from Boeing, Airbus and Embraer all dismissed the concept in a recent webinar produced by IATA.
“We are not investigating anymore these type of devices, and we are not recommending them anymore to be installed on aircraft,” said Bruno Fargeon, leader of the Airbus Keep Trust in Travel Initiative.
Fargeon said the reasons for not considering the partitions included the potential for negatively impacting cabin airflow (which, in turn, could negatively impact virus control), an increase in surfaces that would need to be cleaned regularly, as well as their being in the way in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Dan Freeman, engineering director of Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative, agreed with Fargeon’s explanation. He also added that plexiglass partitions could potentially negatively impact passengers’ ability to reach for oxygen masks.
Freeman also suggested that when manufacturers consider adding something new to an aircraft’s interior, even in the name of passenger safety, they have to think not only about how the new addition will impact the problem being addressed, but also how it will affect everything else on the aircraft. It’s a lot of things to consider, even when it’s something as simple as a shield in between seats.
Luis Carlos Alfonso, vice president of engineering, technology and strategy for Embraer, agreed, saying, “We don’t think these [partitions] are good ideas.”
The webcast was for IATA to convince the general public that flying was safe.
Feature Photo: Needpix.com
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary