This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Apart from the security screening process, the most frustrating part of the flying experience is usually boarding the aircraft. There are numerous ways that airlines choose to conduct boarding, but one company thinks it has found a suitable and efficient answer, with a new seat design.

Meet the Side Slip Seat, by Molon Labe. I happened upon this company while browsing through the hundreds of booths at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. It wasn’t a massive two-story, high-profile booth along the lines of other seat builders like Recaro or Zodiac; Molon Labe’s booth was perhaps 12 by 8 feet. However, the Side Slip Seat is one of the most innovative seating ideas ever offered to airlines since the launch of lie-flat seats two decades ago.

Staggered seats and armrests. Courtesy Molon Labe
Staggered seats and armrests. Image courtesy of Molon Labe.

Here’s how it works: Prior to boarding, flight attendants slide the aisle seats inward by pushing a button on each row of seats. The aisle seat now overlaps about half of the middle seat. This creates an extra-wide aisle, allowing boarding passengers to get by while someone else may be stowing their bag in the overhead bin. No more boarding bottleneck. The window seat passengers board first, then the seats are moved back outward toward the aisle. Moving the aisle seats inward changes the aisle width from 20 to 42 inches.

The big benefit here is that the middle seats are staggered slightly behind the window and aisle seats in each row, so there’s no shoulder bumping. The middle seat occupant also gets their own armrests because they’re slightly behind and lower than the armrests of the window and aisle seats, increasing the comfort of each passenger while avoiding the common armrest battle.

Sitting in the middle seat of Molon Labe
Author Paul Thompson, sitting in the middle seat of Molon Labe’s Side Slip Seating concept at AIX.

“With the wider aisle you have the chance to overtake (pass by) each other, so it’s [boarding] getting faster,” EVP of Sales & Marketing Thomas Conrady told me. “Getting faster means you can save at least 20% of your boarding time.” The commonly dreaded middle seat is now up to 21 inches wide, framed by 18-inch seats at the window and aisle. This is fantastic news for passengers of larger girth, or those who simply want a couple extra inches of space. “We can now have three big guys sitting here without any interference,” said Conrady.

Photo by the author, Paul Thompson

Conrady told me that the company haven’t signed any airline customers yet, but they have one that’s very interested. The company says the shorter turn-around time would benefit airlines by reducing costs on the ground, and getting planes back in the air more quickly, where they make their money.

The Side Slip Seat would be greatly beneficial on the 11-abreast Airbus A380. With the middle section containing five seats, the two aisle seats could be moved inward. The middle seat passenger boards first, and the aisle passengers board next. The passengers in the E and G seats would board last, and would have the seats that are set back slightly from the D, F and H seats.

This seat would also be a good solution to what is commonly known as “Euro-Biz,” where European airlines create a business class up front for short-haul flights on narrow-body planes by blocking the middle seat with a tray-like bar. But with this concept, they could simply leave the aisle seat in position on the widened aisle, creating a feeling of more space for both the aisle and those who are seated in that section.

Featured image by the author.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.