Twisting in your airline seat

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

It is rare that you hear airlines trumpeting about their economy class seating. Usually they boast about how flat their first class seats go or that you have all this extra legroom in business class.

Created by FactoryDesign, the Twister seat is meant for the majority of us – the economy class passenger. Sounding as though it might be a parlour game until you read the brief, you then realise that it could very well alter the way we endure hours of air travel.

According to the company, conventional economy class seats rely on a hinge mechanism to give passengers around 5 inches of seat recline. The Twister seat has a new patented structure that mimics the human spine, recognising that our bodies twist to get comfortable, rather than fold like a hinge. It comprises a vertical ‘backbone’ with ‘ribs’ along its length and along the seat pan. These ‘ribs’ move as the passenger’s weight shifts thus maintaining a shape that is comfortable and ergonomically sound. “From your shoulders to your thighs, the seat follows your profile as you move,” says Adam White, joint creative director of Factorydesign. He came up with the initial concept on a 14-hour flight from Japan in Economy Class.

A passenger in a Twister seat could lean in one direction or curl up in another, and press a control button to hold the seat in that position. By releasing the button, the seat would return to the neutral position. Because the Twister seat distributes body weight more evenly, it helps avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis. “You wouldn’t get a pressure point under the thigh, which would be a significant health benefit,” says White.

For airlines, the key feature is that the Twister takes up the same amount of room than as a standard economy class seat.

The company claims that traditional seat design has fulfilled many needs, but studying the human body means that they have created something that will transform the flying experience. It says that by working with ergonomists means that the concept works with the body to improve comfort. As the passenger is properly supported and can move regularly to maintain that comfort throughout the flight, the problems of sitting in a fixed position are largely removed.

As I spend 20+ hours in planes on journeys to Australia, I am willing to volunteer to test the Twister. Anything to avoid backside cramp will get my vote any day of the week!

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