In an effort to make flying in the cheap seats a bit more comfortable, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics have completely redesigned airplane seats giving passengers control over their individual climates. So one day fiddling with a vent might not be the only futile way to get comfy.
Access to fresh air is still one of the key factors to passenger comfort, but instead of a vent that noisily blasts down from above, the next generation seating will feature gentler inlets integrated into the armrests and the back of each seat. And to ensure the artificial breeze isn't blowing so hard as to dry out the occupant's skin, the inlets are custom-designed for maximum airflow without feeling, or sounding, like a tornado. The new seats also feature built-in heaters like you'll find in many cars, coupled with ventilation that pulls moisture away from the body for added comfort. Passengers will even be able to customise the humidity at their seat, without affecting those sitting next to them who might prefer flying in a desert instead of a rain forest.
The whole concept might sound a little over the top, but an uncomfortable passenger can quickly turn into a cantankerous passenger that poses a threat to flight crew or other travellers. But in reality, it's probably just a feature that airlines wil use to justify fare hikes when this new technology starts appearing on aircraft. Jerks. [Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft]