Denver-based seat manufacturer Molon Labe Seating came to the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg in 2017 offering the Sideslip seat, where the aisle seat in a row of three could slide out and over the center seat, giving a wider aisle and speed up embarkation.

Airlines said “no” to Sideslip, concerned about its complexity. But they liked Molon Labe’s idea of a fixed version, with the center seat being set back 2 inches (50mm) and the seat pad being slightly lower. The difference in position, Molon Labe says, eliminates passenger touch points at the shoulder and hip and also eliminates the “elbow war” for the center armrests.

The center seat is also wider—typically 3 inches (75mm) wider than the aisle and window seats on a 3-3 narrowbody. This design, known as S1, now has customers, Molon Labe revealed at AIX 2018 this week.

“We’ve sold it to two airlines, but I’m not allowed to say who,” Molon Labe CEO Hank Scott said April 11.

Airlines did not warm to the Slideslip design because they feared the complexity of the moving parts in the sliding seat, so the company’s hope is to get its fixed S1 short-haul economy-class seat on board carriers, then upsell them to the S3 Sideslip when they became more comfortable with the idea, Scott said.

One suggestion he is making to airlines is to install Sideslip in the first two rows of a cabin, and/or midway along the fuselage, to allow more space for maneuvering wheelchairs or to allow cabin attendants to step in during busy embarkation periods.

He said reaction to the fixed triple seat had been good: everyone who sat in the design was converted to the idea, he said. The company is about to send 15 sets of the seats worldwide to demonstrate the design.

The technicalities of the design mean that it makes better use of the space between the outboard seat and cabin sidewall, as well as aisle space. This means that an extra seat can be fitted to rows; for example, an eight-abreast can be increased to nine-abreast.

 Alan Dron,