Plane Seat Designers Have Their Heads In The Clouds


You could enjoy your next flight atop the plane if a new product takes hold. It’s not for budget airlines to squeeze more people in but rather for premium passengers to get a unique experience.

The SkyDeck, produced by Windspeed Tech, is a canopy dome that would sit on the top of the plane. It’s made of a similar transparent material to cockpit windows, meaning people sitting in it can get an almost uninterrupted view of the sky.

In its current plans, the dome could house either one or two seats. It could be reached either with a staircase, or by the seating rising up elevator-style.

The company says it has carried out feasibility studies on the dome, including making sure it would be able to withstand both load strains and impacts such as bird strikes. It’s also earmarked an anti-condensation film.

According to the makers, the shape, size and positioning of the dome would not interfere with tail performance, while any additional drag would only mean a “small to neglible” increase in fuel, though this will be tested in a wind tunnel if and when the product develops.

Although the dome would increase overall weight on the plane, Windspeed says this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. It reasons any airline using the feature is likely offering premium seating of some kind rather than packing passengers into every available space, meaning there’ll be some weight capacity to spare.

While some reports suggest Windspeed is in talks with a plane-maker, that’s actually one step away from the situation. It’s actually a manufacturer of cockpits which has made preliminary plans to offer the product to plane manufacturers. They in turn would have to convince airlines it is a feature that is worth having on their planes.

Whether any airline would find it financially viable remains to be seen. Windspeed suggests airlines could either sell the seats as the ultimate premium class, or instead let multiple passengers pay a fee to each visit the deck for a set period.