With some 6000+ narrow-body and regional jets in the US alone, there is a huge market for ‘domestic First Class’ still, and competition is heating up at the front of the plane. Delta has just shown off its new First Class product, first announced in 2020, and the MiQ seats are starting to become commonplace across the USA both in premium economy and in American’s First Class cabins, but there’s plenty of latitude for another entry in to the market.
As these narrowbodied aircraft are being pushed on longer missions, traditional recliner seats might not cut it. For example if you’ve ever travelled to Hawaii, you will have probably searched the bookings for an aircraft with a lie-flat over a recliner seat, albeit most are hard to come by unless you are flying with Hawaiian.
Enter Thomson Aero Seating’s new VantageDUO stage left. The new product has been designed and engineered to bring maximum comfort to the long-range, single-aisle market, with no compromise on density. Interestingly most airliners are opting for fully-flat options to compete with widebodied comfort, but there’s an additional application, and that’s for comfortable, higher density mid-range flights, where we see this excelling.
The VantageDUO has a similar pitch to traditional single-aisle business-class recliner seats while offering the passenger significantly greater levels of comfort, privacy, and personal space.
The Immersive Relaxed Position created by Thompson Aero Seating for the VantageDUO is based upon the ‘zero-gravity’ principle, where research into the relationship between posture and pressure has established the most comfortable position possible, other than lying flat.
As seat design continues to evolve, the mechanisms behind them become more intuitive and robust, allowing for more complex manoeuvres to maximise seat efficiencies. What makes the VantageDUO an impressive product is that a higher level of comfort is achieved from just a 41-inch pitch. While traditional recliner seats have typically a maximum 110 degree of recline, the VantageDUO has a game-changing 130 degrees of recline.
Andy Morris, VP Commercial for Thompson Aero Seating, says: “The fast-emerging mid-to- long-range single-aisle market means that passengers want greater comfort and privacy but not necessarily a fully flat seat such as the VantageSOLO. The VantageDUO offers exceptional comfort and a very marketable seating option, with the same number of passengers as traditional business-class seating. The Vantage DUO really is in a class of its own.”
This seat is another fixed-shell option, which means no encroaching on the comfort of the seat behind you. The VantageDUO elevates and reclines the passenger to the perfect “Immersive Relaxed Position”. Suspending the passenger in a neutral posture increases the feeling of weightlessness, allowing deep relaxation and comfort, taking pressure off the heart and allowing a stress-free position. The seat kinematics have been carefully designed to ensure that the body is supported at all angles of recline. Lower sections of the seating structure have been sculpted out to maximise the open area.
Yes there’s an application for long-haul aircraft, and we can see low-cost carriers in particular embrace this product, however we believe there will be greater demand from the mid-market regional first class market, which has years ahead of it in the North American market before things truly evolve.
Andy Morris concludes: “Our aim was simple – greater comfort in the same space, which we have achieved through our many years of experience in design and engineering innovation. The result: no loss of density, no increase in weight, just greater comfort, space, and recline for the passenger.” And if you are currently at AIX in Hamburg, you’ll have the opportunity to try this seat out first hand.