One of the more attention-grabbing passenger separation concepts to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis was HeadZone, conceived by Factorydesign. The simple, eco-friendly portable barrier was praised for its ability to create personal space in cramped quarters. While initially intended for use with economy-class seats on short-haul flights, it is now being manufactured for a variety of seat models.
HeadZone is a foldable cardboard partition designed to rest on top of a seat, creating a semi-enclosed space around a passenger’s head. It can be provided to travelers gratis if airlines choose to subsidize the cost through branding and sponsorships printed directly on the cardstock. Lightweight and reusable, the creators of HeadZone hope that travelers will use the product after the pandemic has ended.
In November, Factorydesign partnered with aircraft interiors supplier Global Aviation Distribution to produce and distribute HeadZone following interest from airlines. HeadZone can now be configured to fit long-haul seats with headrests, which is something that Adrian Berry, director at Factorydesign, said the design team always aspired to do. “Because the method of manufacture is cutting and folding, we have been able to develop a variety of solutions as to how HeadZone may fit,” he explained. Berry admitted that it’s sometimes difficult to fine-tune the fit remotely based on minimal information, but the process is quick nonetheless. “On seats with headrests and the different mechanisms involved, there is not always a single solution; we like to provide alternatives.”
HeadZone is environmentally friendly in many ways: weighing in at 3.7 ounces, the product saves airlines more fuel than permanent cabin interiors modifications. It can be reused and recycled: Berry said HeadZone is robust and can fold flat to the size of an A4 envelope. Airlines also have a bevvy of options when it comes to customizing the product. Eco-inks can be used to further increase its sustainability, designs can be incorporated that reflect the airline’s brand and cabin, antimicrobial coatings can be applied and it can be manufactured in different thicknesses.
HeadZone may soon take flight, as Berry confirmed that several airlines are testing the product. For those planning on selling the product to travelers, the cost would range between $2.50 and $4 each.