In the Future of Air Travel, Middle Seats Might Be Obsolete

published Jun 9, 2020
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So many things about the future of air travel is unknown, but one thing is for certain: change is on the horizon. There’s been chitter-chatter about “reverse” seats, but the latest idea doesn’t switch the layout around—it adds a feature that gets rid of the middle seat.

London-based industrial design company Factorydesign has created the concept of a screen kit that will help travelers socially distance while airborne. The product they’re calling “Isolate” is a translucent thermoplastic screen that is installed into the middle seat.

Credit: Factorydesign

“Airlines will need to adapt their cabins in order to tempt customers back and reassure them that their health is protected whilst on board,” Factorydesign said on its website. “Reduced passenger loads will free up opportunities to adapt existing cabins to address this new normal in the short to medium term.”

 A lightweight table top supports the screen, which allows for light to pass through and maintain good airflow throughout the cabin. Not to mention getting rid of the middle seat allows for maximal personal space while maintaining a safer distance between passengers. 

Credit: Factorydesign

The kit doesn’t just fit into the middle seat, but can be fitted onto outside seats as well, so two passengers who want to sit next to each other can do so while being screened from the aisle. It easily disassembles and can be adjusted based on the situation. 

While the idea is still in early development, the nature of being an easy add-on feature makes it seem like a realistic idea. And hey, getting rid of the middle seat is basically a traveler’s dream come true.