Editor’s Note: Monthly Ticket is a CNN Travel series that highlights some of the most fascinating topics in the travel world. In June, we’re looking to the skies as we spotlight the exciting world of aviation.
Would you sit directly below another airplane passenger?
It might not sound particularly appealing on paper, but 23-year-old airplane seat designer Alejandro Núñez Vicente believes double-level seating is the future of economy flying.
You may have seen a photo of Núñez Vicente’s Chaise Longue Airplane Seat prototype floating around the internet. Following a CNN Travel exclusive last year, Núñez Vicente’s concept went viral – igniting furious debate and prompting a flurry of reactions from would-be passengers – some outraged, some bemused, some intrigued, some all of the above.
“To be honest, there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” Núñez Vicente tells CNN Travel today. Proving this sentiment, he’s back at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany – showcasing a new iteration of his controversial Chaise Longue.
“People can talk and they always hate innovation in some ways,” he says. “Most of the times when they show you something new, everyone hates it at first, they’re scared of change. But the more you show it, and the more you develop it, and the more they see it, the more they get used to it.”
Núñez Vicente’s concept started small – as a college project back in 2021. A nomination for the 2021 Crystal Cabin Awards – a top prize in the aviation industry – catapulted the concept into the public consciousness. Núñez Vicente paused his master’s degree and put all his time, money and efforts into making his vision a reality.
Fast forward to today and Núñez Vicente has sponsors, partnership deals and is in regular conversation with “the biggest players in the industry.” He believes his double-level airplane seat is the future of economy flying and is working around the clock to make it a reality.