Could this coffee shop seat design make business travel more productive?

Mar 31, 2021

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The innovative seat design that recreates a coffee shop meeting in the sky just took home the Cabin Concept trophy at the Crystal Cabin Awards.

The Coffee House Cabin concept was honored Tuesday night for its clever use of space and recreation of the cafe atmosphere. It was engineered by students and teachers at the University of Cincinnati together with the Boeing Company and The Live Well Collaborative.

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Featured photo courtesy of the Live Well Collaborative.

The idea behind the design is to increase productivity for business travelers with a dedicated workstation and personal space, something most travelers — business or otherwise — would gladly welcome while flying. Part of its design appeal is that it suits the style of “coffee shop culture” that many in the workforce are used to.

Designed for twin-aisle planes at a price point around that of premium economy, it swaps a section of middle seats for a series of co-working tables, with four passengers seated at each table. For taxi, takeoff and landing, the seats would face forward and the wings of the table will detract.

When the plane reaches cruising altitude, the seats would swivel, the table wings would lift up and passengers could get to work. Retractable HD video screens located in the center of each table would double as low-rise partitions for passengers seated across from each other. AC/USB ports would be built-in to the tables.

Much like the concept cars we often see on display at auto shows, the Coffee House Cabin is a long ways off from being available in any commercial plane. But designs like this give us hope that better airplane cabin designs are not just a pipe dream.

Featured photo courtesy of the Live Well Collaborative.

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