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Solving the Middle Seat

The new seat design offers airline passengers an alternative to plotting an overthrow of the armrest or begging for the aisle.

We’ve all been there, and if you’re like me, you begin apologizing before you even stow your bag – if there’s room in the overhead compartment.

I’m talking about, of course, the middle seat on an airplane.

We all hope and pray never to be caught in the middle, especially if you’re 6’3 and 250ish lbs. Well, it sounds like at least one design company feels my pain.

Colorado-based Molon Labe Designs recently unveiled Its “stagger seat” concept to bring some comfort to those stuck in the middle.

The stagger seat sits slightly below and behind its neighbors. This means it can be three inches wider – 21” instead of the traditional 18” - and it has its own armrests.

By extending the curved armrest towards the back of the seat, the person in the middle has access to at least half of its length, so no more strategizing on how to achieve optimal elbow placement on what has become the Gaza Strip of travel accommodations.

The stagger seat is actually part of the firm’s overall Side-Slip Seat design that allows seats within a row to fold into each other. The company rationalizes that by initially compressing the seats, the aisles get wider. So as planes are boarded, from the outside, in, boarding times are reduced.

Shorter boarding times mean less engine idling, which conserves fuel and lowers operating costs, which, ideally, could lead to lower ticket prices.

Assuming the seats can pass all the FAA regulatory hurdles, these seats could be coming to a commercial airliner near you by the end of 2017.

The bad news – if you’re looking for more leg room, get back to begging for an exit row.

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