Stelia Learns Design Lessons From Previous Herringbone Generations – Runway Girl

With the rafters facing outwards from Stelia’s opera house be a major component of the long-haul, narrow-body future, the company draws on a wealth of design experience, including its discontinued mid-2010 proposal of Comet Widebody rafters, as it develops the product.

Over the past twenty years, Emmanuel Regnier, VP of Sales and Marketing for Cabin Interiors, told Runway Girl Network: “We have seen many herringbone models pass and fail, many concepts being tested. With this vast knowledge, we are able to draw conclusions from past experiences and design better ones – lighter, with a composite structure instead of an aluminum structure, and offering more experience to passengers. private, with doors on each seat.

The changes start at the very beginning of the design process and the way seating manufacturers begin to approach the product. “Today our main focus is its functionality and how it can serve the passenger,” Regnier told RGN. “We don’t just consider what appear to be the easiest solutions to implement. This is why ergonomic studies and perceived quality processes are present from the start of the design.

“We also involve frequent travelers in the process and, based on their feedback, we are improving the design.” In addition, he explains, “we are constantly on the lookout for new materials – new leathers, fabrics, patterns – to make our seats as soft and luxurious as possible in order to improve the passenger experience for our travelers. business class.”


Seat manufacturers are also using virtual reality to view, collaborate and iterate options with airlines. As this technology has improved, it is no longer the first choice “ … and this is what your cushion would look like in red ” – more about amenities, customizations, the shape of the shell and CMF – color, material and finish – of the entire product.

The technology of the seat is also evolving more and more rapidly. Beyond the bigger and better screens, Regnier says, “We also want intuitive technology on the plane, like inductive charging and NFC payments, which is now also integrated into the business class.”

Adding these options isn’t the headache it once might have been, thanks to the smaller footprint per inch of newer, more miniaturized flat-panel monitor panels and simplified ventilation systems.

Two seats in Opera business class.  One with a man sleeping in it and another with a seated woman.

Opera is tilted at 44 ° to make the most of the narrow-bodied cab geometry. Image: Stelia

With it all came changes in certification and regulations, both in complexity and in familiarity. “Chevron seats are considered under special conditions by regulators, which makes the certification process more complex and the design constraints greater compared to staggered seats,” explains Regnier. “This gap becomes more and more important over the years. There have also been positive changes in regulations – the best example in recent years is a green light for the three-point seat belt to replace a more expensive, heavier and more uncomfortable airbag belt.

Of course, Opera is not Stelia’s first chevron. In 2015, the company – then newly named the result of the merger between Sogerma and Aerolia – presented Comet, a spacious chevron it was, a year later, put on hiatus.

“The Comet concept was a significant innovation for Stelia – it was our first herringbone design, allowing different configurations with the same seat, in TTL versus cruising,” says Regnier. “All the experience and knowledge our teams have built on Comet have since been applied to Opera. This allowed us to make an incredibly quick start in the design process, as we already knew and had already tested which solutions would work and which would not work for a rafter seat – the challenge was to adapt it to a single-aisle aircraft. “

The aircraft herringbone business class seat, Comet, is shown in gray with black trim on the lounge floor.

Compared to Cirrus and Super Diamond, Comet seemed to be above average. Image: John Walton

Half a decade ago, Stelia split from its parent company Airbus. In April, Airbus announced its intention to reinstate it as an integrated aerostructure assembly actor. There is nevertheless a fascinating and very valuable part of the seat expertise within the company, and it would be up to Airbus to ensure that organizational changes allow for further design innovations in the future.

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Selected image credited to Stelia

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