could reverse airplane seating be the new way to fly post COVID-19?

could reverse airplane seating be the new way to fly post COVID-19?

an italian company has shared two proposals for the future of air travel post COVID-19, including one that involves reverse airplane seating. as the effects of the virus continue to influence many aspects of our daily lives, the airline industry is investigating how it can make provisions for safe travel. although recent studies claim that the cabin air quality is comparable to what is observed in other indoor environments, such as offices, schools, and homes, plans to keep the middle seat vacant for the foreseeable future have been floated as a way to maintain social distancing.

reverse airplane seating
all images courtesy of avio interiors



titled ‘janus’, avio interiors’ first proposal references the two-faced ancient roman god with a design that has passengers facing both ways. ‘this proposal is distinguished by the reverse position of the center seat of the triple to ensure the maximum isolation between passengers seated next to each other,’ explains the company. meanwhile, passengers seated in the side seats are oriented in the direction of flight.

reverse airplane seating
the ‘janus’ configuration sees one third of passengers facing the rear of the aircraft



each seat is surrounded on three sides by a shield that limits breath from being directly passed to the adjacent seats. the arrangement allows all three passengers in a row to be separated from each other, as well as from flight attendants using the aisle. made from materials that are safe and easy to clean, the designers say that the ‘janus’ configuration is available with the shield in an opaque material or with different degrees of transparency.

reverse airplane seating
‘glassafe’ shields can be applied to existing seats



avio interiors has also developed a kit-level concept that could be installed on existing planes to reduce interaction among passengers. titled ‘glassafe’, the proposal involves creating an isolated volume around each passenger in order to minimize contact and the chances of potentially passing on a virus. the designers say that the shield could be transparent, to ensure that the cabin appears light, or more opaque to provide increased privacy.

could reverse airplane seating be the new way to fly post COVID-19?
‘glassafe’ can be supplied in an opaque material or with different degrees of transparency

could reverse airplane seating be the new way to fly post COVID-19?
the ‘glassafe’ design hopes to minimize contact and interaction among passengers



project info:


name: janus / glassafe
avio interiors

  • There is So much wrong with this!
    1. A backwards facing person has an open air transmission path to both the aisle and window seat people that they are facing. This is much worse than all facing forward with plexi between.
    2. Many people get ill travelling backward, not to mention that the force dynamics are then all off for landing & takeoff.
    3. How are people supposed to get into the middle & window seats with plexi as a barrier out to the level of the seat edge? Any adult would have trouble getting in & out of that.

  • Wouldn´t it be better to intensively develop NO FLYING in these climate times ??
    Flying by plane is YESTERDAY. I want to live in future.

  • I appreciate all the above considerations. On short flights these designs may be uncomfortable but tolerable. Long haul flights from Australia to USA or Europe (12 hours plus) are another thing. If close proximity to unfamiliar people and being in confined spaces causes psychological and/or physical discomfort then being cocooned in a plastic bubble for any length of time will only exacerbate these responses. Maintaining the cleanliness of these extra surfaces is another issue worth considering.

  • So the person in the middle seat sneezes, straight into the face of the people either side :))) Right. Hum.
    And aside from that, the sneeze of the person in seat 27b is generally circulated around the length of the tube!
    You could seal off Business to ensure they get a better class of virus?
    A better idea would be to utilise something similar to the drop down oxygen masks as personal filters but even that is ridiculous. Testing is the only way forward. Could possible do a blood test with quick results within the 2h waiting time at the airport, which may then affect whether you are able to fly…anyone seen Gattaca?

  • What if we for once prioritized human health over corporate profits?

    Not a single person on the planet wants the middle seat anyway. Why busy yourselves with reinventing a cramped design when we can lobby for proper seats and more space.

    I don’t know how the consumer class became so sensitive to corporate needs. For instance how corporate lobby groups so generously created recycling for the end user to bear the guilty conscience of their consumption, completely negating the responsibilities of corporations to complete their product life cycles.

  • Ridiculous attention seeking designs for the sake of being noticed, how could this ever work? FYI all RAF passenger carrying aircraft used to have all their seating pointing backwards as it was considered the safest position in case of emergency landing.

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