Is this sofa-style seat the future of business class air travel?

Hamburg, Germany CNN  — 

On a long-haul flight, passengers spend the time working, eating, sleeping, relaxing – and all in the same seat.

Even in the swankiest business class situation cabin fever can set in.

That’s where Airbus’ new “Settee Corner” chair comes in, offering couch-style airplane seating, alongside all the usual business class features.

The new airplane seat premiered at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019 (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, attracting buzz from passengers and airlines alike.

On these new seats, fliers can recline, lounge-style, just like on a couch at home. They can be joined by a traveling partner for an aperitif and to enjoy the in-flight entertainment.

And when it’s time to sleep, they just lie down on the seat, no mechanisms needed.

It’s part of a wider trend visible at AIX – aircraft and seat manufacturers looking to make radical changes to the airplane seat.

Transforming the traditional

The idea is you relax as you would on your couch at home.

The “Settee Corner” concept was designed by Airbus in collaboration with seat manufacturer Geven.

The team based the concept on an economy class three-seater configuration – transforming this recognizable, budget option into a lightweight and luxurious business class concept.

“Airbus is promoting the 321 long range – now, the 321 is going to fly seven–to-eight hours, so we need to have the comfort in business class, a lie-flat surface, but with very competitive weight,” Amalia Martinez Martin, business line leader for tailored equipment, tells CNN Travel at AIX.

The concept was designed by Airbus in collaboration with Geven.

Martinez Martin says the seat is 30-50% lighter than a traditional business class seat. Plus, because it uses a configuration that’s already familiar to airlines, it could go from concept to reality pretty speedily.

“We’ve got all features that you would find in a business class seat,” she adds.

There’s the TV screen, a spot to stow belongings, a roomy overhead locker and tray table for dining – and, of course, the additional couch-like experience.

On one end of the “settee” there’s a seat equipped with a safety belt to use during take-off and landing. Another safety belt will be installed further down the couch for use in the sleep position.

Testing out the seat