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The Future of Airline Seating: With These Seats, You’ll Feel Like First Class in Economy

Travelers Today       By    Amanda Woods

Updated: Feb 20, 2013 03:11 PM EST

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It's possible to feel like a first-class passenger in an economy seat. With a newly established airline seat called AirGo, established by Alireza Yaghoubi, a  Malaysia-based undergraduate engineering student from University of Malaya, passengers can enjoy personal overhead storage bins, and enough space - even when travelers in front of thme recline their chairs.

Yaghoubi, who entered the design to the James Dyson Award, an international student design award running in 18 countries, told ABC he came up with the idea after a series of uncomfortable eight-hour flights on his way to visit his family.

In an ordinary flight, the customer in front of you reclines their seat, taking up "one-third of the space I have paid for. I now have this dilemma whether I should recline my seat too," Yaghoubi told ABC.

Another common situation occurs when a meal is served and "the passenger in front does not want to wake up and my tray table is part of his seat so it is a lot closer to my face than it should be."

With the AirGo design, according to ABC News, each passenger has minimum personal space, which cannot be occupied, even when other passengers recline their seats. The passenger can fully control his/her own screen and tray table.

"Compared to a normal economy class, AirGo uses only an additional 16 percent of floor space thanks to the new nylon mesh design which replaces the bulky cushions in current seats," Yaghoubi told ABC. "They are cheap, durable, recyclable and more comfortable, yet they are considerably thinner."

At first glance, the seats seem like a heavy cost for airlines - because the seats occupy 16 percent more floor space. But Yaghoubi told ABC that there are other ways to make money; for example, airlines could use bigger person screens to sell "extras," like how Apple sells apps.

"The big screen for example can be used to encourage passengers to purchase a few dollar applications, movies, songs, games and books that could be used on their other devices elsewhere through cloud syncing." Yaghoubi told ABC. "They [the passengers] can video chat with others and call home for small rates or they can choose to take part in surveys or watch advertisements to use these services free of charge. They can connect to the local network and play matches against other passengers. The possibilities are just countless." 

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