Airplanes & trains seem to have the same seats they had in the 1960′s: A big trunk with rows and aisles, maybe same number of seats in the cabin, usually boxy and highly uncomfortable. We have TV in back of the seats now, maybe that’s all that’s better. There’s no motivation to improve design since first class is basically better seating and higher prices, i.e. no incentive to design better. It’s almost 90 or so years since we’ve been flying. Can’t we design these to be improved upon-for maximum efficiency and comfort, better use of space? The travel industry is clearly unmotivated to do so and probably wasteful in energy, ticket pricing as well as the resulting fuel usage & costs its interest to keep these condition for business class accommodations & exorbitant prices that go with them. I should mention this could impact or reliance on oil in positive way just by efficiency alone.
My idea is for a government or forward-moving organization to sponsor design competitions to design a better, more spacious, green and futurist “seating” area for both trains and planes that maximizes the concept of how we use that space more than packing us in like sardines for profit. You could use the standard seating quota as the parameters for the competition, perhaps a $100,000 prize and recognition for the winner. A conscientious government (it may not be ours) can give a tax incentives or contract to the airlines & train that start adopting these cabins that work towards the future and design with health, comfort of the passengers and rethinking of a better space. Better design is the low hanging fruit of saving energy, health and comfort for all. It just needs attention, publicity and sponsorship. Please don’t leave it to these industries; it goes under “Luxury” in their book. Make it a public cause.