'Butterfly' Seating Design a Boon to Long-Haul Flights

Winner at IATA’s 2014 Passenger Innovation Awards offers new seating solution.

— -- A new in-flight seat design for long-haul carriers could have passengers in premium economy and business class spreading their wings, so to speak.

With a fixed configuration there are bound to be lost opportunities or inefficiencies,” Lee said in a statement. "Flexible seating configuration helps airlines battle uncertainties. Demand is never constant and predictable — it differs seasonally, across different days of a week, across different markets, across different phases of economy cycle."

"Butterfly is composed of units of double seats, with the aisle seat offset backwards. It is premium economy when both seats are used," described Lee on PaperClipDesign.

Additional perks in this configuration include large cocktail trays, seat pockets and an adjustable ottoman.

"When used as business class, the inboard seat is simply flipped over to form a flat surface. The seating unit then becomes a private suite for one passenger, with a seat and a side couch."

In this configuration, the passenger can choose to spread out while working, or invite another passenger to sit in the couch space for a more social experience. On long hauls, the aisle seat can also be flipped over alongside the "couch" to create a sleeping area.

At 77 inches long and up to 44” wide at hip areas, the business-class bed would be one of the largest in the industry.