You could consider a business-class ticket the most expensive sleep of your life.John TigheDesign Director Transport
Sleep has become both a science and a booming industry - $76.7 billion on the sleep-tech market in 2019 to be specific. Meanwhile 40% of all aircraft passengers say they can not sleep in the cabin whatsoever, 15% medicate in the attempt to do so. In short: plenty of room for improvement.
JPA's Design Director, John Tighe, spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the topic recently, and also presented the topic at the Pax Experience Conference 2019 in Hamburg.
"We have carried out internal testing in order to stay ahead of the curve on this vital topic, and are sharing a few examples of our findings with the world in the hope that we can all get better sleep!"
In economy class one major pain-point the team found is neck & head support. Some seats feature voluminious headrests that often lack individual adjustment abilities and clash with sleeping cushions which comfort-seeking passengers bring themselves. Other seats lack proper support altogether. JPA Design set out to change that and has done so in both aviation and automotive projects.
In business class, bed-length and shoulder space are often advertised as a key features. Our testing shows that hip & knee space is at least as, if not more important. Confinement in these areas means trouble turning over and increases knee collisions. This affects not only side-sleepers but most people, as adults move on average 3-4 times per hour while sleeping - ideally unobstructed.
Our mock-ups also underlined the importance of a well-designed toe-box. Where the feet go the body follows, but limiting them can create a claustrophobic feeling, frequently preventing a good nights sleep.
We are working towards business class seats that provide a greater amount of flexibility to cater to the different types of sleepers, incorporating the latest technologies in the field to control the microclimate around the passenger and creating ideal light, temperature and humidity condition for a relaxed sleep. Furthermore we aim to end the forced choice between comfort and aisle privacy that many seats create.
Pairing the different types of sleepers with matching bed types instead of the one-size-must-fit-all approach would be a way forward for airlines. On top of that, a split in "active" and "sleep zones" within the aircraft, possibly utilising space in the cargo hold for sleeping pods, could help every last passenger to get that well deserved sleep.John TigheDesign Director Transport