She Sells Seat Shells

February 27, 2014

Aircraft seats deliver comfort and privacy

There are few longhaul premium seats today that do not have fixed-back shells. Shells have been in use for almost 20 years, but from being little more than a partition wall, they have now become a far more sophisticated and even a necessary part of what the seat does. The shell has become the very thing that defines the passenger experience, most notably because their design means the seat does not intrude on the passenger behind when it reclines.

"Seat shells used to be an afterthought that manufacturers sent out to subcontractors," says Ben Orson, new managing director of JPA Design and former director of industrial design at Zodiac Seatshells.

"Even today, seat-shell design is often an overlooked job," he adds. "The manufacturers are most immediately concerned about the engineering of the seats."

"Broadly speaking," he explains, "all seats act in the same way: they articulate from a chair to a bed position and through various points in between. But if you look at the functionality that has been added to business or first class seats over the last 20 years, 90% of that is mounted to the furniture – the shell – not to the seat. It is the furniture around the seat that has a huge amount of variety and that defines the passenger experience. It's the furniture that makes the seat what it is."

From increasingly complex in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, to tables, closets and more, shell seats are becoming less aircraft seats and more hotel rooms, says Patrice Boursiquot, EADS Sogerma general manager for Asia Pacific.

"The number one reason [for their popularity], is that they protect passengers' private space," he says. "You can also get the IFE system integrated in the shell, which gives the passenger more connectivity services, as well as offering more storage space and overall comfort. That means they almost give business and premium economy a first class experience." (Continued read the full article, click the link below)

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