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Innovative Side-Slip Seat Promises More Space, Less Hassle

Innovative Side-Slip Seat Promises More Space, Less Hassle
Jeff Edwards

The inventor of a new commercial airplane seat calls his Side-Slip design a “win-win” for passengers and airlines.

Inventor Hank Scott says the inspiration for his Side-Slip airplane seat was fairly simple.

“The seats really came out of the frustration of — I really don’t like waiting in the aisle when I get off a plane,” Scott told Denver CBS affiliate KCNC. He hopes that his solution will soon have passengers spending less time waiting to deplane and airlines saving money at the same time.

Scott’s new cabin design, created with Denver-based Molon Labe Designs, is similar to a single-aisle, six-across configuration, but in the Side-Slip design the middle seat is set several inches behind the aisle and window seats.

The staggered middle seat not only provides precious extra elbowroom for passengers, it also allows the aisle seat to slide towards the window when the middle seat is unoccupied. This means the aisle can be more than doubled while passengers are disembarking.

Scott says he is targeting his invention at low-cost airlines, where the benefits of an aircraft spending less time on the ground can quickly translate to a healthier bottom line.

“I think if an airline wants to save fuel and make their passengers happier and give them more space, it’s pretty much a no-brainer,” Scott noted.

The Side-Slip seats are currently going through the certification process to be approved for use on commercial flights and could be ready for installation on planes as early as next summer.

[Photo & Video: Molon Labe]

View Comments (13)


  1. cestmoi123

    September 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Has he really thought this through? Quite apart from any engineering issues, wouldn’t this only accelerate departures if _every_ middle seat was empty? Otherwise, you’ll get bottlenecks in rows when the seat doesn’t slide to the side…

  2. joshwex90

    September 17, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Unless the door and jetway become wider, I don’t see how this saves time. You’ll still wait through the bottle-neck

  3. texmanufan

    September 18, 2015 at 3:22 am

    Agreed cestmoi123. There are so many reasons why this wouldn’t work. Most likely the last we see or hear of it but it certainly will never be seen on a plane.

  4. zarkov505

    September 18, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Not to mention that certain (American) airlines routinely fly 100% load factors, day in, day out. (This contributes to their IRROPS problems: they have no in-house stretch capacity on certain routes.)

  5. ColePhelps

    September 18, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Teaching the clueless boarding and deplaning procedures would help. Selfish or paranoid behavior of inexperienced or possibly just rude people is the crux of the problem. It is NOT courteous to make 25 people wait while you politely WAIT for someone to gather their bits and bobs before you exit.

  6. Bohemiana

    September 18, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Can’t see how this will work unless you make passengers in the middle seats load last for boarding and first off disembarking. What if you’ve got kids or a baby in the middle who wants to wait? I do like the idea of more elbow room because I often get caught in the middle with elbow hogs on each side.

  7. BJM

    September 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

    The sliding mechanism will jam on one seat and the the three or four minutes saved during boarding turns into a 30 minute delay. I agree with the rest of you…this simply won’t fly. :)

  8. davidviolin

    September 19, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    This is a great idea, but they would have to board by row, starting from the back of the plane for this to actually work. As soon as a row is filled, it creates a bottleneck again…

  9. wh6cto

    September 19, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    The middle seat being set back (and being overlapped) means a few extra inches of pitch will be required to get in and out. This design is reportedly targeting low-cost airlines, but they keep seat pitch to a minimum so they can cram as many passengers as they can on a plane. I can’t see them sacrificing capacity for faster gate time (which may not work anyway).
    Only way this can work is if gets rid of aisle space…which will never fly.

  10. mre5765


    September 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Ignore or kill the sliding aspect.

    The staggered seat idea gives passengers in coach more armrest room and can result in a more comfortable experience in coach. In narrow body with 3-3 arrangement the cost to the airline of delivering more comfort is two fewer seats in coach. The front four sests can be sold as premium economy since they will have no middle seats between each pair.

  11. r0bran

    September 20, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Who is responsible for sliding the seat in and out? Ma and Pa Kettle after they figure out how to get their luggage in the bins? Never going to happen.

  12. nsx


    September 23, 2015 at 7:32 am

    wh6cto is right. More pitch is needed, so airlines won’t buy it. Also the middle seat passenger’s arms are very constrained, as seen at 0:51 of he video. For those passengers, it’s not humerus.

  13. c1ue

    September 23, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Certainly a bright idea, but I really wonder if the result is as anticipated.
    Besides the very true comments above about clueless (!) travelers, I also suspect the middle seat will get the antics of not just the 2 side seats, but the 2 side seats behind.
    Just imagine the joy of not just getting the spillover from large and/or energetic companions in your row, but the direct attention of the kids seated in the aisle and window seats behind you. Before, you only had to worry about orthogonal interference: front, back, left and right.
    With side slip, you could potentially get 6 directions of “action”, rear left and rear right on top of the 4 extant.
    Then there’s the questionability of “elbow room” when there is a high likelihood of a laptop being used. The extra joy of banging elbow into side of knife thin ultrabook display. The extra volume from the tablet/portable DVD player being used to pacify the kid. The aromas from home jerked opossum being consumed by a nervous first timer.
    Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea.

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