70% of aircraft passengers are willing to pay extra to be able to stretch out in a full-length chair and have a sleep. These statistics are provided by California-based start-up Zephyr Aerospace, which launched a crowdfunding campaign to build new cabins which make this possible.
Zephyr means seats designed specifically for long-distance flights in economy class. You can sit in a seat using the built-in side table, or lie down with your legs outstretched. Each such chair is sectioned off at the front and back by standing partitions with soft pillows. A special design, anatomically matching the shape of the human body during sleep, lets you lie down at full length so you don’t inconvenience any of your neighbours.
Visitors are accommodated in a separate booth, and so the recommended social distancing in relation to the pandemic is maintained. But the main feature of the new cabin is that the seats are located immediately below and above. Space is saved by getting rid of the luggage lockers, and having the upper row allows airlines to increase their seating density by 20%.
The start-up has already raised $500 000, which was enough to produce a demo version of the cabin. Thanks to the crowdfunding campaign, it expects to raise at least another $100 000, the bulk of which will be spent on engineering improvements to obtain the necessary certification.
To date, Zephyr Aerospace has collected almost the full amount, with the end of the campaign still another month-and-a-half away. Currently, the founders of the company are negotiating with the world’s leading airlines about possibly using their know-how.