Double-decker economy seating at 30,000 feet in the air?

Air travel today is one of the most preferred modes of travel with more and more people taking to the skies, like never before. The high market success of innumerable LCCs has made air travel affordable even to the common man.

Not surprisingly, airlines have wanted to cash in on this aspect and generate more profits. Modifying the passenger cabin seating arrangement and the seat design to accommodate more passengers was one way, although at times it would come in the way of the level of travel comfort experienced by the passengers.

Nevertheless, airplane seat designers have long been dreaming up innovative economy cabin concepts, looking for the ideal balance between squeezing in as many passengers in as possible, and keeping the experience relatively enjoyable for fliers.

Fast Company

Touted to be a gamechanger for the aviation industry, the Chaise Longue Airplane Seat design, is one such concept which would see economy class plane passengers seated on top of each other double-decker bus style has been described as “roomy and comfortable” yet “claustrophobic”.

The Chaise Longue Economy Seat

Designed by Alejandro Nuñez Vicente, a 22 year old student who hails from Spain but studies at TU Delft University in the Netherlands, the dual-level design would see passengers in the top row climb steps to their seats, while those in the bottom row would be able to stretch their legs out flat.

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Meant to be installed in a bi-level cabin that has rows of traditional seats on the floor, and rows of elevated seats, it is touted to enable airlines to maximize space without sacrificing passenger comfort. People will be able to stretch out until they are almost completely horizontal as if seated on a divan or chaise longue, hence the name of the invention.

So, what according to Alejandro, inspired the design?

Apparently, his experiences traveling across Europe in economy partly inspired the idea. Alenjandro is over six feet tall and his height and frequent flights home to Madrid is how he came up with the idea for the Chaise Longue Economy Seat.

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I used to fly home to Madrid on weekends, and those short flights were terrible. I can’t even imagine what long flights on those planes would be like. That’s when the idea started to take shape

Alenjandro said in conversation with El Pais

The innovative design does away with the overhead cabin, moving storage for carry-on luggage to compartments between the top and bottom rows. Extra legroom for passengers seated in the lower rows are also added. Since the rows of seats are not lined up one after the other, a seat can be reclined much more than normal without disturbing the passenger behind.

El Pais

These seats can recline 125 degrees, 15 degrees more than normal. No other airplane seat available today can do this


Though initially intended for the Flying-V airplane which is currently in development at TU Delft, Alenjandro says it could also be implemented in a Boeing 747, Airbus A330 or any other medium to a large airplane.

The Flying-V airplane | Representative | Airline Ratings

The lower row has the advantage of passengers having the lounge experience of a couch by stretching the legs, whilst the upper row provides an SUV experience, making it possible for instance to cross the legs due to the increased leg room and overall living space


Furthermore, the seat pieces are designed to be easily movable, allowing a commercial aircraft to be converted for cargo use.

At the moment. Alenjandro isn’t focussed on cramming on more passengers on planes, rather passenger comfort and experience is what he is working on. With some modifications on the Chaise Longue Economy Seat, an additional 5-10% increase in seating capacity could be attained but that’s for later.

At the moment, this is an internal student-led university project which still hasn’t been formally presented to airlines. However, some companies in the aerospace sector have already shown interest in the Chaise Longue Economy Seat project, presenting possible chances for future collaborations

says Núñez Vicente

The design, which was nominated in the 2021 Crystal Cabin Awards, will be showcased in AIX, one of the world’s biggest aviation shows in the world.


COVER: The Street