Sleepers In Seattle: Zodiac Introduces High-Density Comfort to Business

Zodiac Seats has introduced of a new generation of seats for the premium economy class, which looks a lot like a one of the old Lazy-Boy-inspired First and Business Class aircraft seats, but which will prove a boon to cabin-footprint-conscious airlines.

Zodiac Z500
Zodiac Z500

According to the manufacturer: “The Z500 Premium Economy class seat is designed to offer a modern, comfortable and spacious living space” without compromising cabin density.

The new seat frame design delivers improved knee and foot space, without tradeoffs on weight or performance. Passengers seated on a Z500 seat pitched at 38 inches, can “enjoy the knee room of a more traditional seat at 40 inches.”

The seat also features a one-piece table, new-design pockets in the armrests to accommodate tablets or small laptops, a large literature pocket on the seat back, individual cocktail trays and optional water bottle holders. A headrest-mounted reading light is available as an option.

The manufacturer, whose IFE division makes the RAVE IFE system emphasises that this system will fit nicely on the new seat and states that it is also able to accommodate “other popular IFE systems.” The seat can fit seat back mounted monitors up to 15.4 inches. Alternatively, for airlines offering Bring Your Own Device entertainment, a tablet holder is an option.

The Z500 is displayed at Aircraft Interiors Americas in Seattle.

Zodiac Aries/Zodiac
Zodiac Aries/Zodiac
Zodiac Aries/Zodiac
Zodiac Aries/Zodiac
Zodiac Aries/Zodiac
Zodiac Aries/Zodiac

The manufacturer has also announced that its High Density Business Class seat, Aries, unveiled in 2013, has a launch customer. Aries is a unique business class seat offering a maximized passenger count (up to 20% more) with optimal comfort (full flat bed with direct aisle access) by smartly using the 3D space of the cabin.

If you haven’t picked up on the high-density Premium product trend yet, it’s coming.  Ben Orson from JPA Design shared the principles for designing the ideal cabin with Skift readers in a recent article, and told attendees at the Skift Forum in NYC last week that high-density First Class is going to be a thing. He also predicted a 3-D cabin.

You heard that right.  Now, make your peace with it.

Where will these high-density Premium Cabins fly?  Pretty much anywhere that airlines need them to–revenue space onboard the aircraft is a high-priority and airlines are getting creative in all classes.  These Zodiac seats would have fit in First not that long ago.  The real issue here is the tighter pitch, but airlines control that.

At least Zodiac is providing a reasonably comfortable “lean” aircraft option. For medium-haul flights, these seats tick all the boxes.

Marisa Garcia

After working for sixteen years in aviation, specializing in aircraft interiors design and aviation safety equipment, and getting hands-on with aircraft cabins in hangars around the world, Marisa Garcia turned her expertise into industry insight. She has been reporting on aviation matters since 2014. Every day, she's putting words to work.

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