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Here’s what it might be like to travel on a double decker airplane seat

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Hamburg (CNN) — Flying economy for any extended period of time is an experience usually endured rather than enjoyed, but one airplane seat designer reckons his design could revolutionize budget travel.
Alejandro Núñez Vicente’s Chaise Longue Airplane Seat concept started small scale last year, as a college project for the then 21-year-old. A nomination in the 2021 Crystal Cabin Awards — a top prize in the aviation industry — swiftly followed, and the design became the focus of a flurry of online attention following a CNN Travel article.
Since then, Núñez Vicente’s been making waves in the world of aviation. He’s paused his master’s degree to pursue the project full time. He’s in talks with big-name airlines and seat manufacturing companies. He’s been granted some hefty investment that’s allowed the project to develop.
But while some marvel at Núñez Vicente’s innovation, others recoil, concerned about claustrophobia and convinced sitting underneath someone else would be worse, not better, than the current airplane economy set-up.
“I grow more from listening to the critics and listening to the bad comments, than from listening to the good comments and the flowers that they throw me,” says Núñez Vicente, speaking to CNN Travel in Hamburg, Germany, where he’s showcasing his design at the 2022 Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX).
His design is for the everyday traveler, so Núñez Vicente says he’s keen to hear what would-be fliers have to say, positive or negative.
“My purpose here is to change the economy class seats for the better of humanity, or for all the people that cannot afford to pay for more expensive tickets,” he says.
Núñez Vicente is set to receive even more feedback this week. AIX is one of the world’s biggest aviation shows, and he’s premiering the first full-scale prototype of his design.
CNN Travel stopped by to get a taste of what it might be like to fly on a double decker airplane seat.

Testing out the concept

The Chaise Longue Airplane Seat on display at AIX 2022 Hamburg.

The Chaise Longue Airplane Seat on display at AIX 2022 Hamburg. Francesca Street/CNN

First up, the top level. Núñez Vicente’s designed the prototype with two ladder-like steps for travelers to use to access the top level. It’s a little precarious, but once I’m up there, the seat feels roomy and comfortable, and there’s plenty of room for stretching out my legs. The prototype seats don’t move, but they’re each set up in a different positions to indicate how they could recline.
Núñez Vicente’s design does away with the overhead cabin. Instead, he’s designed space in between the top and bottom levels for travelers to stow cabin luggage.
In the vast, echoing halls of the Hamburg Messe conference center, it’s hard to imagine what it would actually be like to be that close to the cabin ceiling. Núñez Vicente reckons there would be about 1.5 meters separating the seated passenger from the top of the plane. He argues that while a traveler couldn’t stand upright in that space, many already can’t stand upright in regular economy rows — although, presumably, these taller travelers will be even more squished by this design.
Next up, trying the bottom row of seats. Núñez Vicente’s frustration with a lack of legroom was the original impetus for the design, and by not having a seat on the same level in front of me, it does allow me to stretch out my legs, and there’s a foot rest for added comfort.
Still, because the other level of seats are directly above me and in my eyeline, it feels pretty claustrophobic. But if you don’t mind tight spaces, and you’re planning simply to sleep all flight, it could be an effective solution.

Next steps

The cocoon-like spaces have a foot stall for passengers to stretch out their legs.

The cocoon-like spaces have a foot stall for passengers to stretch out their legs. Francesca Street/CNN

The Chaise Longue seat was initially envisaged for the Flying-V airplane, a new airplane concept currently in development at Delft University of Technology, Núñez Vicente’s alma mater.
Now, he reckons the design could be implemented in a Boeing 747, Airbus A330 or any other medium to large wide-body airplane.
Núñez Vicente is ambitious and confident his design could become a reality, but he also acknowledges that unusual airplane seat ideas don’t often make it from concept to reality. It’s a lengthy process, and the industry’s stringent rules and regulations can become roadblocks.
Plus, the airplane economy seat hasn’t really changed in decades, even if there have been many reimagined concepts floated by designers.
“One of the phrases I get a lot, is ‘If it’s not broken, why change it?'” admits Núñez Vicente. “So if passengers still fly in the worst economy class seats, why are we going to give them a better option? It makes money. That’s the goal of the airline at the end of the day, not to make your flight better.”
Still, the seat designer is already working on the next step in his process, to engineer the structure to be lighter than its current iteration.
He hopes to partner with an airline or a seat manufacturer to make that happen.
“Right now, we’re showing the market what we have. And we’re letting the market come and tell us what we need to do next,” he says.
Núñez Vicente might now be collaborating with industry experts with years of experience, but the project began in his bedroom in his parents’ house, and his family remain a big part of the process.
He’s at AIX with his parents in tow — they drove the Chaise Longue prototype in a van across Europe and helped him set up the seat in situ.
“Of course, at the beginning, no one expected this to get this big to the point where we are today. But they all knew that I was going to be able to do something,” says Núñez Vicente.
“If you asked me before, I would have said maybe it’s just a university project. If you asked me now, after all the hard [work], after all the effort of many, many people — I would say that now this is more of a reality. We see it as the future of the economy class.”

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Travel

FG promises seamless passport for Nigerians

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The Minister of Interior, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian government towards delivering a seamless and efficient passport for Nigerians, both within the country and in the Diaspora.

Speaking at the inaugural Diaspora Webinar Lecture Series of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) entitled: “New Passport Policy/Processes for Nigerians in the Diaspora,” Tunji-Ojo said that was the directive from President Bola Tinubu to him and other cabinet members towards attainment of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

Related: Herbert Wigwe risks jail term as EFCC raises special task force against dollarization (Photos)

The minisiter, who emphasised the importance of providing top-notch services befitting Nigeria’s stature as the giant of Africa, stated that: “Effective from March 8, 2024 Nigerians will benefit from a contactless passport application process, reducing the time required to complete the entire process to a maximum of seven to 10 minutes.

“This monumental reform is part of the overarching efforts to modernise the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and enhance service delivery to citizens,” he added.

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Highlighting the achievements and reforms within the ministry and its parastatals, particularly the NIS, the minister underscored the clearance of over 200,000 passport backlogs within three weeks of his assumption of office and the deployment of E-Gates at international airports to streamline entry and exit processes.

He also outlined plans for the installation of a modern control centre across international airports in Abuja and Lagos, aimed at enhancing immigration officers’ capacity and providing Nigerians with a seamless travel experience.

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Tunji-Ojo stressed on the importance of leveraging on technology to simplify passport acquisition, stating that Nigerians would only need their National Identification Number (NIN) for passport applications and bio metrics.

“Through an automated system, data will be pulled from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database to fill application forms, reducing the risk of identity fraud and ensuring a single point of contact for citizens,” he said.

The minister added that plans are underway to automate the passport enrollment process, enabling online application, biometric capture, and home delivery of passports, thus eliminating the need for physical visits to passport offices.

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Whole addressing concerns raised by participants from various continents regarding current challenges in passport application and delivery processes, he assured of the government’s commitment to resolving these issues as soon as possible.

The former lawmaker urged Nigerians to take pride in acquiring their passports, as the new process heralds a new era of hope and progress for the nation and its diaspora community, adding that the ministry woule partner with NIDCOM.

Earlier, the NIDCOM Chairman/CEO, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, commended the minister’s efforts, highlighting the significance of the Diaspora Lecture Series in keeping Nigerians abroad informed about programmes and reforms of President Tinubu’s administration.

In her presentation, the Comptroller General, NIS, Caroline Wura-Ola Adepoju, emphasised that the new process would significantly reduce human interaction, thereby eliminating inconveniences associated with passport applications and saving time for both applicants and immigration personnel.

Adepoju said the service had produced 1,033,506 million passports in 2021; another 1,597,729 million in 2022; while a record of over 2,141,300 million were produced amidst various challenge in 2023.

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She, however, said that many Nigerians did not come forward to pick up their passports at various centres she visited recently both within and outside Nigeria, promising that from March, there will be positive improvement in passport production without going through any stress or interventions.

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NGO Warns Nigerians Planning To Japa, Says People Dying Sleeping On Streets, Housing Too Expensive

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A Nigerian, Vivian Etuka, residing in Canada, has cautioned individuals considering migration to Canada to avoid the Ontario province.

She said many Nigerians who lacked proper research and information ended up on the streets upon their arrival in Canada.

Etuka, who is the Founder and CEO of Bethel Outreach Community Services spoke in Abuja on Thursday, January 18, when she met with the Chairman and CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).

She explained that lots of Nigerians end up in refugee camps as a result of not following the proper channels.
She advised those considering migration to Canada to steer clear of the Ontario province, citing its overpopulation and high cost of living.

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Emphasizing that settling down is easier for those with direct job opportunities, she also highlighted the scarcity of housing in Ontario, with many Nigerians reportedly sleeping outdoors in the cold.

Etuka, who is involved in caring for refugees in Canada, stressed the importance of being certain about arrangements before making the move.

She said: “I’m not putting fear on anybody. I’m saying there are right and wrong ways to move to any country. When you’re coming to any country, please make sure you do your research. And make sure you go to like if you’re coming to Canada I speak on Canada because that’s my home. Go to other provinces that are less populated. I’ll tell you again to stay away from Ontario.

Adnair “Housing is extremely expensive. I have four days ago, two immigrants that are sleeping outside passed away.
“With extreme -25 degrees, it is not good for anyone to be sleeping outside.

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“So if you’re coming to Canada and do it the right way, there are right ways to do things online how to migrate to Canada with a job you can look for a job that types LMIA jobs that can employ you before you get to Canada.

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“Don’t come to Canada and let agents deceive you that as soon as you get off the plane there are jobs. If there are jobs ready, what about Canadians out on the street?

“Don’t you think they want to work? So that should let you know what’s wrong.
“Nobody’s going to hand you a job from the airport. You’re going to have to work out to look for the jobs, and housing, you’re sharing the room with somebody paying $1,200 a month and some landlords are requesting for a whole year before you can move in.

“We have young men and women that are Nigerian sleeping on the street. I have 23 of them in a church downtown that has no washroom and they are dependent on people like me for food, clothing, and looking for jobs.

“We are helping them advocate with the government. And I implore you please do come to Canada, it is a beautiful place but come the right way. So we are not burdened trying to help you settle you and everything. It’s difficult. Immigration is expensive, is very difficult. So do it the right way and enjoy the same Canada that I enjoy.”

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FULL LIST: 45 visa-free countries Nigerian passport can travel to in 2024

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The Henley Passport Index has listed the most powerful passports in the world on Thursday.

HPI is a global passport-ranking website with an original, authoritative ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

Their index is often based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – the largest, most accurate travel information database – and enhanced by Henley & Partners’ research team.

The passport ranking website listed Nigeria as 95th out of the 104 countries with the most powerful passports.

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Nigeria sits behind Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Morroco, Benin Republic and Namibia which are at number 76th, 83rd, 67th, 65th, 71st, 79th and 65th respectively.

The index also said Nigerians now have about 45 visa-free countries enabled with their passports.

See the full list below:

1. Barbados
2. Benin
3. Burkina Faso
4. Burundi
5. Cambodia
6. Cameroon
7. Cape Verde Islands
8. Chad
9. Comoro Islands
10. Cook Islands
11. Cote d’Ivoire
12. Djibouti
13. Dominican Republic
14. Fiji
15. Ghana
16. Guinea
17. Guinea-Bissau
18. Haiti
19. Iran
20. Kenya
21. Kiribati
22. Lebanon
23. Liberia
24. Madagascar
25. Maldives
26. Mali
27. Mauritiana
28. Mauritius
29. Micronesia
30. Montserrat
31. Mozambique
32. Niger
33. Niue
34. Palau Islands
35. Rwanda
36. Samoa
37. Senegal
38. Sierra Leone
39. Somalia
40. St. Kitts and Nevis
41. The Gambia
42. Timor-Leste
43. Togo
44. Tuvalu
45. Vanuatu

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