Let’s face it: No one enjoys sitting in a middle-row when flying aboard a commercial airplane. Middle seats are generally smaller and more cramped than side-row seats. In 2020, however, an undisclosed airline is expected to adopt a new configuration for its middle-row seats.
As explained by Today, the unnamed airline will integrate S1 seats into some of its airplanes in April 2020. No commercial airlines currently use S1 seats. But with S1 seats receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), aviation experts say that it’s only a matter of time until they airlines adopt them — and it appears that time is approaching. While it’s unknown which airline will use the S1 seats, there’s strong evidence indicating that at least one airline will, in fact, use the new middle-row seats.
What are S1 seats exactly? Designed and manufactured by Molon Labe Seating, it uses a staggered three-seat configuration in which the middle seat is a few inches back from the two side seats. The middle seat is also a few inches lower than the side seats. And while these nuances may sound insignificant, they could offer a more comfortable and enjoyable flight experience for passengers.
With their staggered design, S1 seats are more spacious than existing middle-row seats used in commercial airplanes. Passengers have a little more room to move their arms and legs, even when the airplane is maxed to capacity. And with more space, passengers won’t feel as cramped.
Molon Labe Seating have been developing the new middle-row seats for over a half-decade. When speaking about the new S1 seats, the company’s CEO said the following. “We can actually make those seats higher, so you can have three different heights and three different widths,” said CEO Hank Scott. “What we are trying to say to the general public is that one size does not fit all.”
As previously mentioned, S1 seats have been approved by the FAA. In June 2019, the FAA gave airlines the green light to begin using the new middle-row seats. So, when can you expect to see S1 seats in commercial airplanes? Well, at least one airline — which hasn’t been named yet — has ordered S1 seats for about 50 of its airplanes. The airline is expected to introduce the new seats in April 2020. Of course, given the benefits of the new seats, we’ll likely see other airlines adopt make the switch to S1 in the years and months to come as well.