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Aircraft Interiors International, major industry publication read by world airlines interior specialists wrote an article on LSEAT in its June 2020 issue.
New Lseat to offer sleep mode in economy class
By Linda Blachly
As cabin seat innovators look for ways to make economy class more comfortable for passengers and more profitable for airlines, new seat designs are attracting attention.
One entrepreneur believes his innovative economy class seat design—the Lseat—is just the right fit for airlines looking to fill denser economy cabins in the COVID-19 era.
The Belgian-patented Lseat switches from sitting to sleeping position by lowering the seat and using space underneath the seat in front to recline, for a small mark-up on economy fare. As the pitch between seat rows stays the same, the company said the airline “does not suffer any loss in passenger cabin density while enjoying increased revenue and increased services.”
Lseat founder and CEO Yves Hendrickx believes the Lseat will turn economy class into the “most profitable class for airlines,” which he said will be critical as carriers search for new ways to attract customers to fill aircraft in the post-pandemic era.
Lseat company said current economy seats are designed to remain in a sitting position, which makes it uncomfortable for passengers to sleep, especially on flights longer than six hours.
The Lseat is designed so the front part of the cushion slides down and a leg and feet holder extend below the seatin front. The seat is said to offer an almost flat position for a comfortable sleep, while distance and pitch between the seat rows remains unchanged. No power assistance or cabin crew assistance is required.
“Sleep mode won’t disturb your neighbors; they will still have the same pitch and leg room,” Hendrickx said, adding that even when fully extended, Lseat stays at 115 degrees (the same recline that economy seats offer now) with no additional pitch reduction, keeping the same cabin passenger density and recline as regular economy seats.
Hendrickx told ATW he got the idea for the Lseat at the end of last year in pre-COVID times when flying economy on uncomfortably long flights. “I thought, there is room beneath the seat; why can’t I use that? It is ideal to lower the front part of the seat.” He said COVID has accelerated the need for this kind of solution as airlines strive to fill their planes again.
“Innovations on aircraft are usually focused on first- and business-class, and nobody is focused on the economy class, which has the biggest numbers on the aircraft,” said Hendrickx, who is also an engineer, pilot and aviation specialist. “The numbers are there to make airlines’ income much bigger. Now with COVID, it is becoming harder and harder to fill the business class. On the other side, in economy class, passengers are still anxious to travel.”
He said that Lseat would cost a passenger approximately 10% more than a regular economy ticket.
Advisory council member Mathieu Pauwels told ATW: “Our research shows that 75% of travelers would pay up to $50 and even up to $100 more for a comfortable seat.”
Hendrickx added: “Maybe it’s ambitious, but we can say that we invented the eco-business class.”
According to the company, the Lseat can be supplied as new or as retrofit on an active aircraft. A retrofit kit converts existing seats into Lseat, developed on demand and tailored for aircraft in service. The kit can be engineered for any type of commercial aircraft and has an “out-of-the-box setup” that takes no additional AOG time. “It becomes fast, cheap and easy to convert from eco seats to the Lseat.” The company estimates the return on investment for airlines to be as low as 12 weeks.
Lseat production is ongoing and engineering and certification are in progress, which Hendrickx predicts could be as early as 2021. Production partners include SONACA for engineering and certification, and former Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker.
Group Air Transport News Editor
Since more airline passengers than ever are likely to be travelling in economy class from now on, given the impact of the pandemic on the global economy, it’s hardly surprising that airlines are looking for innovative seating solutions that will cater to this
One such proposition is the Belgian- patented Lseat, an economy class passenger seat that converts from
sitting to sleep mode without the use of electricity or need for crew assistance. The Lseat switches from sitting to sleeping position by lowering the seat and using space underneath the seat in front to recline, for a small mark-up on the economy fare. As the pitch between seat rows stays the same, the company said the airline “does not suffer any
loss in passenger cabin density, while enjoying increased revenue and services”.
Full new installation of the Lseat can be done overnight. For retrofit solutions,
a kit is adaptable for many types of seats in order not to have to alter the integrity of the existing seat. For retrofit, the recline is not modified; the sleep surface comes with the change in shape of the lower seat level and extension below the passenger seat in front.
Lseat founder and CEO Yves Hendrickx says he believes the prototype represents the future, pointing to the fact that wide-body aircrafts such as the A380 and B777 need to find new ways
to attract customers and to fill their planes. Meanwhile, single-aisle aircrafts with long-range capabilities, such as the A320neo, will start to adapt their short- haul cabins to long-haul standards.
Airlines benefit by being able to offer an improved economy class passenger experience: higher fees lead to extra revenue. An annual minimum of $35k per seat is expected, according to Hendrickx, who notes that it represents an opportunity to boost revenues fivefold for airlines, while passengers need only pay a small premium ($50) to enjoy a new and vastly more comfortable way of travelling in economy.
SEATS & INTERIORS
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020 | aircraftcabinmanagement.com 21
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