With the exception of some of the possible arrangements and kinematics of its Spread Your Wings seat from last year, Japanese seatmaker Jamco’s success in the market has largely been around analyzing the existing market for a given type of seat and figuring out what the niche is that needs filling. That, says Rei Kigoshi from Jamco’s Product Innovation Office in its Aircraft Interiors and Components Group, is how the seatmaker went about conceiving and designing its new upmarket staggered seat, Quest for Elegance, as well.
“We wanted to expand our product offerings and concepts with this new staggered seat. We did intensive market research and looked into what other staggered seats were on the market, and how airlines thought of them, and so through that we thought: ‘what can Jamco do uniquely?’,” she tells Runway Girl Network.
Kigoshi quips that the “biggest feature” of the Quest for Elegance is the tilting monitor, which pivots around its top edge to retract out of the way in a very satisfying, almost whimsical way. Jamco reckons this brings a more open environment to the seat, enabling passengers to enjoy a movie while in bed mode, and can even link the monitor position to the seat position in order to auto-transition as the seat, giving an optimum viewing angle.
“Another great thing about this is that, because it’s tilted, we see the possibility that we can certify it with a two-point seatbelt,” Kigoshi suggests, and Jamco says that it already has a method for resolving the head injury criterion within certification requirements for the seat.
In the proverbial flesh of thermoplastics, leather and fabrics, the seat itself is notably plush, with a truly premium feel to the color, materials and finish that Jamco has selected. This is a smart move for Jamco in the context of the competition, where some other staggered seats require a fair amount of custom CMF work in order to make them feel as premium as, say, Delta’s Thompson Vantage XL+ in the ONE Suite, Philippine Airlines’ Vantage XL, or the Singapore Airlines Stelia Symphony.
Also premium are the kinematics of the seat: a swing-out table that’s as satisfying as the monitor, practically silent actuators in the seat motor, a variety of visible and hidden storage slots — and, for passengers in the seats directly adjacent to the aisle, a supplementary side storage box perfect for either popping a handbag or briefcase on top or tucking items away within, going some way to alleviating the zero sum problem with staggered seats.
Space-wise, the example at the Aircraft Interiors Expo was pitched at a relatively compact 44 inches, and was certainly far from feeling cramped.
Indeed, the amount of space within the seat was very positive, even on what was the model for the relatively narrow Boeing 787 Dreamliner fuselage.
The sliding privacy panel door, however, is only available on larger widebodies, with Jamco suggesting the 777. This is another smart piece of design engineering from Jamco: it’s not quite the chunky door in the Beyoncé model but it neatly does the job of privacy. Jamco wasn’t prepared, however, to talk about how it would achieve the need for emergency egress via frangibility or unlatching at this point in the seat’s evolution.
And evolution is truly the watchword for Quest for Elegance as a seat. Over a decade after the first staggered seats débuted in business class, it’s by no means a trailblazer in configuration. But it’s a pleasingly solid iteration of the stagger concept, and aiming at the more premium side of the market — where there are quite a few gaps in the competitive landscape — may well reap benefits.
- Ranking 2019’s best business class seats
- Beyond Beyoncé: in search of a post-doors model for suite privacy
- How many doors do you really need, asks Jamco’s Spread Your Wings
- Shorthaul Side-Slip Seat evolves, longhaul staggered seat emerges
- Compact staggered seats, set to revolutionise business class
- Doing Business: the staggered business class seat renaissance
- The zero-sum problem with staggered business class seating