As all of the airlines continue to brag to their passengers of increased leg room and the width of their seats, all good news to the business traveller who spends hour upon hour flying between cities and meetings, I thought that I would move the subject on to the next phase. As carriers strive to give you more they are equally focused on increasing the number of you that can boards each of its aircraft. Whilst all of the solutions that are being considered would tend to focus on short-haul flights, they do not appear to favour the economy class business traveller.
In giving you more leg room you would think that they are effectively reducing the number of seat that can be installed and you would be right. This had led to some lateral thinking by the airlines over the physical configuration of the seating itself. Idea's that go back as far as the 50's 60's and that are currently in use on military aircraft are now being reconsidered by the various think tanks that have been employed by the airlines to maximise seating.
Probably the least controversial idea being explored is that of simply raising the seating by around by as little as seven inches which would allow bag storage below and far greater head room above. You would simply step up to your seat, leading to a more spacious feel to your trip in addition to extended vertical leg room.
A more radical suggestion is for sideways seating with your backs against the windows and centre rows facing the windows. Whist the flip base seats will lead to a very spacious feel to the cabin, especially on boarding, it is hard to see how this could translate to a viable space for business travellers. The biggest drawbacks for the business traveller over the ad hoc leisure traveller are likely to be the lack of privacy and seat back tray to work on. Whilst the military currently use this format for flights of up to 14 hours, it is thought to only really be appropriate for up to 2 hours for civilians (with harness-style belt at every seat).
It is important to remember that anything that an airlines wishes to put in place has to conform to very strict safety legislation and the potential re-fitting of aircraft cabins with any of the above is not likely to happen for many years.