It's the moment many plane passengers dread – you receive your boarding pass after check-in and find you've been assigned the worst of all economy-class seats. The middle seat.
In these days of increasingly limited space on planes, the aisle and windows seats are sought-after more than ever. The ability to pre-select your seat online has also meant that the window and aisle seats are snapped up quickly, leaving those who book later with no alternative but to squeeze into the middle seat, sharing both arm rests and, on occasion, some of their leg room too.
But a radical seat design may change all that, turning the middle seat into an attractive option.
Thompson Aero Seating has come up with the Cozy Suite, a new seat design that incorporates a second, side-on headrest as well as individual armrests for passengers.
The company says the design means no more fighting over armrests, as well as delivering a wider seat and improved accessed to the aisles. Better yet, from an airline's perspective, Thompson claims the seat will allow airlines to fit more seats into their aircraft.
The seat also features a fixed-back shell with a pan seat recline. This means you won't feel the passenger behind you bumping or kicking your seat and, if you recline, the forward-sliding pan means you won't be invading that person's space.
Although these features would benefit all passengers, it is the middle seat that gains the most benefit.
The initial design has been around for some time but industry publication Skift believes the radical design was too much for airlines when it first came on the scene. Now, however, airlines are looking for innovative ways to improve comfort without having to reduce the number of passengers they can carry.
Thomson designed the new Qantas business class seats found for its Airbus A330 aircraft. The leather-clad seats convert into a two-metre (79-inch) fully flat bed with plenty of legroom. Last month Thomson was named as a finalist in the Australian Good Design Awards 2015 for the Qantas seats.