An Innovative Way to Fully Recline on an Airplane

Last night, Megan and I were discussing how fortunate we were to have traveled to New Zealand last year before the coronavirus changed the world. Perhaps we should have stayed there: New Zealand did one of the best jobs at flattening the curve, and to date they only have 1,513 confirmed cases.

One memory we glossed over a bit was actually getting to and from New Zealand, which required some very long flights. I don’t even mind being on airplanes for hours on end. The trouble begins if the flight is long enough that I need to sleep for part of it, as I find it incredibly difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep in a seat.

One solution would be to fly in business class or first class, but I’ve never bought anything other than an economy ticket–the markups for those other tickets is astronomical. So when an article on CNN the other day presented a way that the economy section of a plane could offer the ability to fully recline, I was intrigued.

It took me a few minutes to grok the concept–you need both of these photos from Zephyr Aerospace to do so. The first showsa double-decker concept that is a bit of a red herring for reclining element, though it’s important to see that (a) there are still plenty of seats and (b) the position of the mini-tables.

The next photo shows how you recline. Unless you’re tall, your legs fit under the tabletop of the person in front of you.

I think this is superbly clever. While I can’t see any international airline doing this without charging extra for these seats, it seems like they could be offered far more economically than business-class seats (and with an even better ability to recline).

I’d love to see this become a reality. What do you think? Have you ever been able to fully recline into a comfortable sleeping position on a long flight?

2 thoughts on “An Innovative Way to Fully Recline on an Airplane”

  1. That is amazing, and I would love to see it!

    Unfortunately, if i came to pass, I’m sure they would end up shrinking the space to neigh-unusable in order to somehow fit MORE passengers on the plane (“double decker seating? Amazing! Now we can DOUBLE our ticket sales!”)

    • Wouldn’t it be nice if we emerged from the pandemic–a very travel-light period–to have airlines realize that they exist to serve their customers, not the other way around? 🙂


Leave a Reply

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading