NBTA: Check Out the Swiss Aerobed Seat

Things got a little busy last week with the A380 flight, so I didn’t have a chance to post the last of my NBTA posts. Here it is . . . .

Back in May, I talked about how Swiss had decided to replace its current business class offering with a new seat that used air for cushion instead of foam. Well, at NBTA, they trotted out a very early version of the seat to show it off.

I didn’t get to sit in the seat, because they said it wasn’t fully developed yet, but they did have a cushion there that you could hold. Why would you want to hold it? Well, they wanted to show you how Swiss Business Class Air Cushionlight it was compared to a regular cushion. As you’d probably imagine, it really was a good deal lighter. (If it weren’t why would they bother trotting it out?) But that’s only half the story . . . will it be comfortable?

They’ve certainly put a ton of effort into this. You can see at left that there are several layers on top of the air cushion. I believe the white layer is a kevlar coating that helps with fire resistance and distribution of weight. The light blue layer is almost entirely for moisture-wicking. Then the seat cover is on top. Not bad at all, I have to say. But let’s see how it holds up under the stress of flying in revenue service.

Swiss Business Class BedBy the way, you can see the entire flat seat at right. It looks very similar to Continental, no? You can see how the legs go underneath the seat in front of you. But Swiss is doing something different from Continental in that some rows will have a 1-2-2 configuration while others will have 1-2-1.

I imagine I’d like the seat by itself on the “1” side, but it depends on if I’m traveling with someone or not. The interesting thing about this configuration is that only a few seats require stepping over someone to get to the aisle. (Just the window seat on one side of the 1-2-2 configuration.) But compared to Continental, they have a lot fewer seats in a row here. That could come back to haunt them – it’s going to be tougher to make money with this less dense configuration.

I know, I know. Enough about seats already, right? This should be it for awhile. Not back to our regularly scheduled programming.


4 Responses to NBTA: Check Out the Swiss Aerobed Seat

  1. j p says:

    However, the lower “horizontal” density is more than made up for by the greater “vertical” density. They only need a pitch of ~47″ (or less) per row which allows them to fit in enough rows to compensate for the lack of seats per row. All in all, the Thompson seats that Swiss chose allow for the greatest number of “full-flat” seats compared with any other major layout(eg, angled-lay flat, herring-bone, UA/CO style (and yes, I know they’re slightly different), SQ, etc.).

  2. QRC says:

    Cranky, let me tell you – the seat softness and pillow makes a huge difference. BA figured it out in J, although sometimes there is a hinge that I find I have to add an extra pillow for (underneath my back).

    CX didn’t get it – and I’m not the #1 fan of their J because of it. I even still lay a blanket under me in their new F. Even as a loyal CX guy, I fly BA every month or so when I have to go to LHR assuming I’m in J (still use CX for F..BA F is too narrow compared to CX).

    If this Swiss product is what it sounds like, it will definitely win my return service – softness in the seat is something very underrated (everyone is obsessed with “flat”, and forgets that flat doesn’t mean s$@T if it is hard and lumpy like a rock).

  3. Brad says:

    This is the same seat that Delta will begin installing on the 767 fleet beginning this fall. In fact, Delta announced the product before Swiss, but they have not yet shown the “final” seat.

  4. CF says:

    Brad – Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Delta may have the seat, but they won’t have the air cushion. That is something the Swiss is pioneering.

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