Is This the End of the Dreaded Middle Seat on Airplanes?


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to reassess the way we go about many aspects of our daily routines and has encouraged stricter hygiene practices around many rituals, including visits to the shops, doctors and more.

Travel is undoubtedly one of the more affected industries from the pandemic, with borders closed against tourists and flights grounded indefinitely around the world.

But this, too, shall pass, and when social distancing restrictions lift, people will feel inclined to begin travelling the world once more. Only, it’s expected things will look a little different; more considered cleaning practices on flights will be just the beginning.

Going a step further, one Italian company that produces aircraft cabin interiors is looking at the way people are transported on flights, and are questioning whether there’s still a place for that dreaded middle seat on planes.

Their solution? To reverse the middle seat and install plastic borders around the zone of the face between seats, creating a physical barrier between passengers and thus preventing the spread of germs.

Avio Interiors

Avio Interiors conceptualised the ‘Janus Seat‘ named after the two-faced God of Ancient Rome. The design features a reversal of the middle seat in a row of three and includes the application of a transparent plastic shield that winds between seats to divide each passenger’s personal space.

“This arrangement allows all three passengers to be separated with a shield made of transparent material that isolates them from each other, creating a protective barrier for everyone,” Avio Interiors says of its design.

While the prototype images show the barrier in a tinted clear plastic, it’s possible the company could produce the material in opaque plastic to secure more privacy between passengers.

Understanding the costs of installing new seats, Avio Interiors also conceptualised a second design that could do just as well to enforce isolation measures and keep travellers safe.

The ‘Glassafe‘ shields are able to be installed on existing airplane configurations “to make close proximity safer among passengers sharing the same seat”.

The clear material shields in this design will help limit interactions via breath or air and will reduce the probability of contamination by viruses or other sicknesses.

Avio Interiors

Not sure about you, but we are totally here for this.

Prior to COVID-19, there was already a need for a solution like the ones put forward by Avio Interiors to curb the spread of illnesses on planes, but the pandemic has only further outlined that improved hygiene is needed in places where people are due to interact in such close proximity.

Here’s hoping this one comes to fruition before we travel next!

The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

Read more stories from TheLatch— and follow us on Facebook.