APEX Insight: Entering the aircraft seating market is a difficult process with many hurdles to overcome. In the fourth installment of our series on aircraft seats, we look at how LIFT by EnCore’s collaboration with Boeing during the product development phase of the Tourist Class seat played a role in the newcomer’s success.
At the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Boeing announced its selection of LIFT by EnCore’s new Tourist Class seat as SFE (Supplier-Furnished Equipment) for the 737 Sky Interior cabin. APEX has since spoken with LIFT about what makes this seat design special, and the importance of Boeing’s role in its success. “At the end of the day we are the design owners, and it’s us who creates the seats, but [Boeing] was there to help guide and inform us,” explains Tom Eaton, LIFT by EnCore’s director of Design. “It was an ongoing conversation.” Aram Krikorian, vice-president and general manager of LIFT, adds, “There’s quite a bit of detailed analysis that a company of the magnitude and strength of Boeing can bring to the table.”
The seat’s comfort factor comes from its focus on ergonomics. “It’s not just simple pressure mapping,” Krikorian says. “The seat puts you at a particular posture that’s good for long-term comfort.” The seat’s contours and cushion maximize legroom, which gives a “significant and unique amount” of knee clearance, according to Krikorian. The seat pan is 17.9 inches between armrests, leaving an 18-inch wide aisle to make boarding, deplaning and getting around in flight more comfortable. It also allows four-and-a-half inches of recline. LIFT worked for months on finding the pivot point that would prevent passengers from intruding on the space of those seated behind them.
LIFT also focused on functionality and aesthetics. “Something like the food tray latch is an important touch. It’s polished metal, aluminum and has a nice feel to it,” Krikorian says. “The tray table has a nice robust firmness; you can place your laptop on there with confidence.” LIFT has proposed functional design options including a bicycle water bottle holder under the seat, where it’s easier for passengers to reach; optional power outlets at the height of the tray table, where they are most likely to be needed; and an optional tablet holder, which keeps the device at eye level while passengers enjoy wIFE, but can be tucked behind the tray table when not in use.
“Boeing has done extensive research in exploring how the colors work with the Boeing Sky Interior to really enhance the passenger experience, so, for the first time, the seats are benefiting from that.” — Aram Krikorian, LIFT by EnCore
Though the Tourist Class Seat is a catalogue product, it was designed to enhance the branded feel of the Boeing Sky Interior. One of the ways that LIFT did this was by working with Boeing on a color range that plays off the Sky Interior’s ambient lighting system. “Boeing has done extensive research in exploring how the colors work with the Boeing Sky Interior to really enhance the passenger experience, so, for the first time, the seats are benefiting from that,” says Krikorian. “There’s an array of colors that customers can choose from, and they’re designed to be the bridge between the Boeing Sky Interior colors and the airline brand.”