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Airline seat manufacturers are constantly developing better-designed products. We’ve seen some great innovations recently, from United’s dense yet well-designed Polaris seats to Emirates’ new world-class first class suites.
Now, seat manufacturer Recaro is developing a new technology that focuses on health rather than just comfort. According to a Bloomberg interview with Recaro CEO Mark Hiller, a new self-cleaning business class seat is in the process of being developed. The seat will be “infused with a disinfectant that destroys almost every germ on contact within seconds” using a newly-developed anti-bacterial film.
And, since “the best innovation doesn’t help if you cannot show it,” this new seat will indicate to passengers just how clean it is.
However, you’re not going to see this new technology on-board anytime soon. According to Recaro, the seats won’t be unveiled for another year or two. Even then, an airline is going to have to order and install the new seat before you’re able to experience it for yourself.
This innovation will join a list of others designed to make aircraft less germy — including Boeing’s self-cleaning toilets and GermFalcon’s UV-light-based system to clean the interior of an aircraft. For germophobes, these innovations can’t be installed soon enough.
While many of us might not want to think about it, there are some exceptionally dirty spots in airports and aircraft. Hands-down, self check-in screens are the dirtiest, with an average of 253,857 colony-forming units (CFU) — viable bacteria and fungal cells — per square inch. In the airport, second and third place goes to gate bench armrests (21,630 CFU per square inch) and water fountain buttons (19,181 CFU per square inch).
On-board, the bacterial onslaught continues with lavatory flush buttons (95,145 CFU per square inch), tray tables (11,595 CFU per square inch) and seatbelt buckles (1,116 CFU per square inch) being the highest source of germs. Notably absent from this list of dirtiest spots is the target of this latest innovation: the airplane seats themselves. That said, for those hoping for a cleaner aircraft, any innovation to reduce germs is a welcome innovation.
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