Posted on: 28 November 2014 by Mark Howells
Lantal’s Pneumatic Comfort System (PCS), or more simply, air-filled seat cushions, are being chosen for business and first class seats by SWISS, Lufthansa and British Airways, amongst others. Inflight-Online.com finds out how the system offers passengers a luxury passenger experience, whilst remaining cost-effective for airlines.
Harald Riner, head of sales for PCS, explains that the stand-out advantage of the product is its weight. He suggests PCS cushions can save between 1.5 and 3kg per business class seat, and an even more impressive 3 to 5kg on first class cushions. Combined with the lower operational cost of the PCS, Riner claims, “The operator can expect a return on investment in less than 3 years.”
The save in operational cost is in comparison to more traditional foam seating, Riner says. “The natural usage of foam leads to degradation over time, which reduces the support and comfort of the passenger dramatically. Foam cushions cannot recover and premium airlines replace them every few years to maintain the comfort level – PCS cushions are maintenance free and never degrade. They provide the same exact quality and comfort for the entire lifespan of the seat, making a periodical cushion change needless.”
But the operational benefits Lantal’s PCS product gives airlines aren’t a squeeze on passenger experience like other airline money-savers, such as reducing seat pitch. Riner argues that PCS does the contrary, that it actually improves passenger experience.
Visually, passengers are treated to a more pristine looking seat. Riner points out, “The daily usage of ordinary foam will decrease its volume over time. The textile covers will start to wrinkle. Due to the constant air pressure in the PCS cushions, the covers will always be tight fit.”
The PCS also offers a massage function, which Lantal believes is a luxury that first and business class passengers have come to expect. However, once again, there’s no need for airlines to install any additional infrastructure, as “Lantal’s PCS just works with air pressure.” Riner elaborates, “The lordosis and massage function consists of two cushions which are placed behind the backrest cushion. The cushions get inflated alternately and this generates a massage for the passenger.”
Furthermore, the company says, “passengers are able to individually control the firmness of the cushions to accommodate their personal comfort level. The PCS knows the seat position from sensors and changes the firmness in the individual chambers accordingly.”
The PCS also has both safety and hygiene benefits. The company explains, “The majority of the weight consists of non-flammable material. Therefore, PCS significantly reduces the amount of flammable material in the cabin,” and that, “Unlike foam, the PCS seat cushions have a closed surface and can easily be cleaned or even sanitised on the spot.”
When Inflight-Online.com asked about the company’s future developments, Lantal confirmed that a PCS system for economy class is already under development. Is a luxury passenger experience product finally cost-effective enough to be enjoyed by more than just the privileged few? Watch this space.