New airline seats – new rules

The travel advisory has not yet been lifted but the airlines are getting ready for you – and they can’t wait! But it is going to be a little different. From the little that we have seen so far of what it is like to fly during COVID-19, it is apparent that flying is not going to be the same. Masks are required – naturally and in flight service is just not there. Instead a bag on your seat with hand sanitizer, face mask and a bottle of water awaits. But what about social distancing?

Well, as there is not a great demand right now for flights it is easy for the airlines to keep half the seats vacant so as to give some semblance of social distancing but the problem with that is simple economics. There is no way an airline can operate permanently with half loads. Some creative designers are coming up with ways to make our flights more comfortable and “spaced out”.

How about a double storey aircraft – half the seats on the higher level with access via a little ladder and the other half underneath? Everyone gets to stretch out and space out. This design has attracted the interest of several airlines. Would you like to travel like this?

I think it looks like you would have to find somewhere else to stow your carry on luggage – but this could be the answer.

Another designer has come up with this idea called the Janus seat (named after the two faced Roman god). This idea looks pretty good to me.

There’s a lot of plexi glass there to clean which is my only concern but it does give a bit of a better situation for the poor middle-seater. But then again maybe not. Can you see how the middle seat person is basically looking face to face with the person sitting next to them. It would make for some awkward eye contact moments. Experts don’t really think these new designs will take off. Airline seating has rigorous testing to go through – as Will Horton comments in his article in Forbes Magazine –

“New aircraft seats have to withstand a 16g dynamic force. A roller coaster has forces about 4g and a Formula One car 6g. The plastic barriers have to be strong enough to remain intact, but not so hard they could cause injury if a passenger’s head suddenly crashes into it.”

So maybe this is just another whimsical journey of aircraft designers for ideas that never really take off (‘scuse the pun). Like the saddle style standing seats. We saw a lot of interest in these but not a single airline purchased or installed them. The seats look like a bicycle saddle

You wouldn’t want to do a long flight on these puppies!

And the other new rule of course – wearing a mask – which might be difficult on a long flight and certainly difficult for flight attendants when someone chooses to be an ass and refuses to wear one for no good reason. Like the guy who got thrown off an American Airlines plane for refusing to wear one. He kept 122 passengers waiting while he argued with the flight attendant and when she said it was the rule he said it was not a Federal rule. She basically said to him “my house, my rules, get off”. He was very indignant and has now been banned from flying American Airlines.

So masks are no doubt going to be part of our lives for a while now – although it is hit and miss these days. Half the people in the supermarket with masks and the other half not. And for those with a sense of humour? Well there is no end to what can be used for a face mask …

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. I felt claustrophobic when I had my mask on, It will definitely be tough for me if it is a long flight. I may have to practice at home 😞


    1. Yes quite a few people have said the same. I have several different masks and my preference is the disposable one as it is much easier to breathe through rather than the washable ones. Either way it is going to be hard for some people. :(:(


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