Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons

AirGo seat concept aims to up the comfort in coach class


February 20, 2013

The AirGo Seat

The AirGo Seat

Image Gallery (10 images)

Flying economy class can be about as enjoyable as being stuffed into a left luggage locker, but Malaysia-based engineering student Alireza Yaghoubi has come up with a new economy class air passenger seat design that departs radically from the one that’s been used since the 1960s. Winner of the Malaysian national James Dyson Award, the AirGo concept aims to make seats less expensive, easier to maintain and as comfortable as the leather and free drinks before take-off jobs up in first class.

Yaghoubi says that the AirGo design was born of his own aggravations with flying economy as a student. Reading reviews of passenger experiences, he noted many complaining of neck pain, poor blood circulation and backache caused by the primitive ergonomics. Passengers also want a consistent experience. That’s a bit of a problem when you’re having the person in front of you pushing the chair back. This not only invades your space, but it also interferes with the fold-down table, makes the chair-back entertainment system less accessible and ensures that using a laptop is nearly impossible.

Yaghoubi’s concept design for the AirGo Economy Class Cabin is built around a minimalist design that looks more lawn chair than luxury recliner. According to Yaghoubi, the articulated AirGo seat is more ergonomic, less intrusive on other passengers and more economically viable than current designs.

The principle behind the AirGo is that each seat occupies an independent space that doesn’t impinge on the others and offers the same comfort as a First Class seat. The seat consists of two parts. Above is an individual locker for each passenger that replaces conventional shared bins. Attached to this are a tray and touchscreen that are mounted independently on arms that can be easily moved and configured or simply folded away when not wanted.

Under this is the AirGo seat itself, which consists of an articulated frame containing three motors that allow the passenger to customize its position for and hopefully avoid neck and back pain. Instead of cushions, the back support is a nylon mesh that conforms to the body and prevents sweating. In addition, the footrest is an integral part of the AirGo seat rather than mounted on the seat in front.

Yaghoubi claims that the AirGo seat would be cheaper to manufacture and maintain. He also says that the AirGo is 200 percent more space efficient than first class and only needs 16 percent more space than a conventional Economy Class seat. That latter part would be impressive in most scenarios, but with airlines seeing every inch not dedicated to cramming in more seats as a loss, that 16 percent may tell against the AirGo.

The video below introduces the AirGo seat concept.

Source: James Dyson Award via Daily Mail

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

There is no way in hell this will EVER be adopted by a single airline.

You can easily see from the diagram that the required spacing between rows is much wider than the 16% admitted in the article. No way that airlines are going to remove rows of income-producing seats to accommodate this design. Why would they purposely lose money? Nice idea, but economically not sound. You have to design something that MAKES the airline money if you want them to change.

Dax Wagner

It will require a redesign of the roof of the airplane as well. It will have to carry the dynamic load of the passengers.

Stef Berghmans

I remember the competition for a durable, fire-safe upholstry material for the existing seats. Nylon was among those not chosen.

Bob Stuart

What a load of codswallop. From the drawing I'd estimate he has a seat pitch of about 55 inches. Typical Kattle Klass is 33 inches.

Not only that, but the volumetric efficiency of the individual overhead bins is bound to be less than for one large bin.

If some genius could com up with a seat that gave more room, (for example a tubular frame with thin webbing, like the Aeron office chair), the airlines would immediately adopt it and reduce the pitch by an amount equal to the saving.

If I were this engineering student's professor I'd flunk him, not give him a prize, for failing to consider the basic needs of the client, i.e. the airlines.


Don't forget about the arms holding the tray and TV. Would have to find a way to make them instantly and automatically retractable in the case of turbulence or worse. Otherwise you're dealing with some pretty dangerous clubs.


Seems as aisle access, either routine or in an emergency, could be problematic with all of that hanging hardware.

Fairly Reasoner

Sounded really interesting until I got to this line;

" ...and only needs 16 percent more space than a conventional Economy Class seat..."

That means less passengers. Quite a lot less.

These few inches/cm they keep carving off economy space are all about fitting in just a few extra passengers.


The video that is supposed to introduce the seat is completely senseless. It provides no information whatsoever on the seat. It's an animation of which 90% deals with showing the frustration of passengers in the current economy class setup. What a waste of time.


This design seems more interested in solving the entertainment problem than solving the seating problem.

Offsetting the seats with each other would bring the shoulder and arm room that is missing. They could be mounted on the diagonal. to provide the space.


Lewis Dickens

It seems the above comments are overly critical and are simply rubbish what is not a bad idea (the need to improve economy seating and provide more flexibility.

Whilst it is a challenge that the seats require more space, airline that adopt this model MIGHT be able to charge 16% more to recoup the cost. On and LHR - MAD flight that would as little as an extra £15 which I would surely pay.

There is also something to be said around weight. Current seats weigh as much as 20kg each. If these are less than that which in theory they may, the fuel saving might offset the reduced seats.

The idea is interesting and certainly merits further consideration.


Vital that a position be possible where the feet are above the heart.

Also, install bacteria/virus filters in the air circulation machines.

Will only happen if the government mandates new health rules for airline companies.



I work for a major airplane manufacture and deal closely with the seats group.... this....will...never....happen....

But I do have to say one thing, at least they are thinking outside the box. If you have enough crazy ideas, you might just stumble upon one that changes the face of the world.


@Cyberxbx. Agree with you and other comments around airline motives/costs etc. but wow what a nice design and yes we need to constantly keep challenging ourselves with new and sometimes 'out of the box' designs until we do come up with something that works.

Well done to Mr Yaghoubi, its better than anything I could have conceived. I hope he continues on to more and more great concepts.

John Anderson

I fly a lot, and if I could get 16% more room in coach the present seats would be fine. My status on the airlines has as its major benefit the ability to get on the plane early so I can stow my carry-on. Bin space is premium space, and individual compartments are less space efficient. Interesting design exercise though.

Bruce H. Anderson

Where do the oxygen masks and life vests go?

Ian Mitko

And what about the air vents???

Ian Mitko

Nylon adheres to the skin when it melts right? When the person in the seat braces for impact his or her head is going to be separated by a thin sheet of nylon from the back of the passenger in front?

Ian Mitko

All the negative posts remind me of all the trolls posting on other sites. Get off your duffs and design something "better". A) Nylon is only one of about seventy textiles available. B) The individual bin solution is a better idea as a big picture solution as the passengers who now abuse the set up will no longer be able to. C) As suggested, the potential weight savings would save fuel and allow more latitude for weight distribution. D) People who fly often would happily pay a few extra dollars for a seating option like this, though I suspect there are a few design compromises that could all but eliminate the "extra 16%" space allowance while retaining most of the comfort and flexibility. E) One person suggested the roof system would require modification because it would be supporting the apparatus. The diadems I see show it attached to the floor panels which would clearly support the bulk of weight. Adding some structural rigidity to the fuselage wouldn't be a. As thing, and wouldn't be difficult or terribly additionally expensive to equip new aircraft with.

The biggest hurdle I see is getting this to pass an astronomical amount of testing and FAA approvals. Expense-wise, that could make this project a non starter. I love the concept and hope it can be implemented in whole or at least in part.

Vince Pack

Vince as a retired Aerospace Test Engineer I can tell you this design as presented will not be adapted by the Airlines, it might take some of the ideas to add to the present seating configurations. I see this as a big problem with Insurance companies allowing this configuration from it's obvious safety hazards are too many to list from the crash test safety standpoint and ease of emergency exit!! If I was to grade this on engineering practicality it would get a D-!! some of the concepts for using breathable seating textiles is a Grade A+, but the rest is just to hazardous to be used in typical Commercial Airlines of today! not to mention the psychology of being pressed like a Sardine might be hard for many to deal with on long flights!! But like I said some of the ideas you can carve out and adapt in today's seating setups.

Sam Joy
Post a Comment

Login with your Gizmag account:

Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our articles