Defying gravity with Unum Aircraft Seating
When Unum Aircraft Seating’s CEO Chris Brady was preparing to launch the company in 2020, he wanted to ensure its products were comfortable, sustainably made, and would make a big splash in Business Class seating. Unum One was introduced in March and features an infinitely adjustable range of seat positions with its Zero Gravity position across both single- and twin-aisle aircraft.
Brady, who led Acro Aircraft Seating from 2004 to 2019, says Unum spent two years developing Unum One.
“The remarkable thing about this seat is how it has surprised me. Early on in the development process it looked great on paper, then the first cardboard space models were exciting, but now the real thing has blown me away,” said Brady in a March 24 press release.
According to the company, Unum One is a fresh take on a traditional herringbone layout and has a “passenger-focused” design. Passengers can lie flat, have direct aisle access, privacy and a large single-piece table. The outward-facing herringbone layout works on narrow-body A321 and 737 aircraft and on wide-body A350, A330, 777, and 787 aircraft.
The most comfortable position
Zero Gravity refers to the feeling of weightlessness passengers feel when seated on Unum One, but airlines can thank NASA for the inspiration behind the tech. Collins Aerospace, Bombardier, and Emirates have similar seating options available that reduce body pressure. Even car manufacturing companies such as Nissan have integrated Zero Gravity into their seats.
Alan McInnes, Vice President of Business Development at Unum, tells PAX Tech that a passenger’s comfort is an individual experience and the most comfortable position available is the one that works for you.
“Flying is an unnatural phenomenon for humans, so anything you can do to aid comfort contributes to a passenger’s wellbeing,” he says. “Zero Gravity is when a passenger’s knees go above the hips and get cradled. So, your muscular and skeletal systems are perfectly supported, supremely comfortable, and rested. And there are studies explaining that the position can aid in digestion as well.”
Unum partnered with Acumen for the industrial design elements of Unum One, and relied on industry advice and proven best practices from SabetiWain Aerospace, SCHROTH Safety Products, and Bühler Motor Aviation to design the seat.
The infinitely adjustable range of seat positions are made possible by the number of actuators hidden inside the seat (part of a device or machine that helps it move). Actuators move the seat pan up and down, leg rests, and any other pivot points a passenger wants to customize to their liking. With passengers bringing a broad range of heights, weights, and builds onboard, having nearly limitless adjustability makes for a more comfortable passenger.
“There is no such thing as a comfortable seat because comfort is based on personal experience. Only the user of the seat can or cannot be comfortable. Some airlines offer seats with pre-set actuators which don’t always lend itself to a comfortable experience,” says McInnes. “With Unum One, any passenger of any percentile can find a position that works for them."
Unum One will be on display at Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from June 14 to 16 at Booth 6E56.