VantageDUO is pictured here in an outdoor setting. The seats are rich browns with a quilted cover.

Thompson launches new VantageDUO paired angle seat with zero-G

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Ahead of the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg next week, Thompson Aero Seating is unveiling its new VantageDUO paired angled seat, aimed at the market currently served by recliners on shorthaul flights and even some of the more dense fully flat bed products on the long haul. 

VantageDUO combines several elements of bang-on-trend passenger experience design questions: the recliner-plus market segment, the zero-gravity element, narrowbody front cabins, premium aesthetics in narrowbody CMF, and clearly delineated personal space for each passenger.

VantageDUO is pictured here onboard an aircraft, and in grey tones with a blue pillow.

Thompson is going maximalist for the CMF it’s pitching to airlines here. Image: Thompson

Thompson is showing VantageDUO in a 2-2 configuration across a notional narrowbody cabin. On either side of the single aisle, the pairs of seats angle towards the windows, with a fixed shell recline of up to 130 degrees and each passenger’s legrest-supported feet tucking underneath the seat in front.

In its layout, VantageDUO is somewhat reminiscent of HAECO’s Eclipse recliner or Collins’ Diamond flatbed, except without the flatbed part. Instead, Thompson has designed a zero-gravity deep recline, which it says achieves 20 extra degrees of recline compared with the 110 degrees of regular recliners.

VantageDUO is pictured here in an outdoor setting. The seats are rich browns with a quilted cover. There are 4 seats in the image and a woman is sitting in one of them.

The fixed seatback zero-G seat involves a certain amount of feet being tucked under the seat in front. Screenshot: Thompson

The zero-gravity cradling effect is particularly notable, and indeed is a focus of Thompson’s marketing for the product, with a glossy video demonstrating the depth of the seat pan recline angle.

Thompson calls this an Immersed Relaxed Position, explaining that the concept involves “suspending the passenger in a neutral posture” which “increases the feeling of weightlessness, allowing deep relaxation and comfort, taking pressure off the heart and allowing a stress-free position. The seat kinematics have been carefully designed to ensure that the body is supported at all angles of recline. Lower sections of the seating structure have been sculpted out to maximise the open area”.

VantageDUO is pictured here on a white background. The seats are rich browns with a quilted cover.

The deep recline is electrically actuated, says the seatmaker. Image: Thompson

Thompson is offering VantageDUO with 41 inches of pitch, some 5-6 inches more than the pitch at which most airlines install traditional recliners, but still substantially more dense than flatbeds.

“The fast-emerging mid-to- long-range single-aisle market means that passengers want greater comfort and privacy but not necessarily a fully flat seat such as the VantageSOLO,” says vice president commercial Andy Morris. “The VantageDUO offers exceptional comfort and a very marketable seating option, with the same number of passengers as traditional business-class seating.”

VantageDUO is pictured here in an outdoor setting. The seats are rich browns with a quilted cover. There are 4 seats in this image.

VantageDUO’s stagger allows a density of up to 41″. Screenshot: Thompson

It’s a very impressive product, accommodating up to a 16-inch inflight entertainment monitor, plus all of the modern conveniences like AC power, USB and wireless charging, and a variety of storage pockets, nooks and crannies. The window seat will be in particularly high demand thanks to the additional console space that the seat geometry provides. Thompson is also offering a heating/cooling option and a pneumatic lumbar/massage system for the seat.

A phone sits on the wireless charger for the seat.

Wireless charging is practically de rigueur these days for a premium seat. Screenshot: Thompson

Accessibility requirements for wheelchair users and passengers with reduced mobility are met by the r-shaped aisle side armrest retracting downwards almost flush with the seat.

Rotation

A key test will be how airlines can position this seat, and the extent to which they can sell it as a better-than-recliner product in comparison with their market competitors. In other words, if Airline X is offering 6 rows of this recliner-plus seat at 41” but Airline Y can fit 7 rows of a regular recliner at 35” into the same space, how much less can Airline Y charge for the same class of service, and how does that affect Airline X’s pricing model?

A Thompson spokesperson confirms to Runway Girl Network that there is “no customer yet”, adding that “VantageDUO’s innovative design has involved all engineering disciplines including Thompson Aero Seating’s extensive certification experience and whilst it has not yet been certified they do not foresee any issues. Thompson wanted to put the product into the market to gauge customer reaction so they can then incorporate any requests/changes before certification. Whilst they have had some initial discussions with airlines, AIX will be the formal launch.”

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Featured image credited to Thompson