Airport seating

An airport chair or airport seating is seating within an airport.

A Zoeftig Installation with the Zenky model at Birmingham Airport.
A variety of chairs for massage and waiting at a gate

Airport terminals designed by major architects such as Renzo Piano (Kansai International Airport) or Richard Rogers (London Heathrow Terminal 5) require high quality seating to match the general quality of their interiors.[1]

Fire safety is a significant consideration at airports. Regulations now govern the contents of airport terminals and this affects the choice of materials used for the seating.[1] Werner Sobek designed the airport chair Expression using only aluminium in a simple form.[2]

Recent firms and designers involved in the highly lucrative and competitive business include Porsche, Vitra, Sir Norman Foster, and Alberto Meda.[3]

Business travellers commonly wish to use laptop computers while waiting and so seating for them may incorporate a charging point and a form of desk.[4]

Robert Sommer studied the design of airport seating and concluded that the arrangement of chairs in rigid lines bolted to the floor was deliberately sociofugal — discouraging social interaction such as conversation and encouraging the sitters to go to commercial locations such as shops and cafes.[5] The provision of arms on the chairs increased the usage of the chairs, as compared with bench seats without arms. Strangers are more comfortable sitting adjacent each other if there is an arm to mark their personal space. The parallel orientation of the modular seat units also minimises face-to-face contact and this is less threatening for strangers.[6]


While designing chairs of the Chicago O’Hare International Airport in 1962, Charles and Ray Eames took it upon themselves to design a chair that would not only be stylish, but also functional for the people occupying each seat.[7] This seat was later deemed the Eames Tandem Sling Seat. Brian Alexander later updated the Eames seat by adding an occasional table in between seats and power outlets for convenient charging of mobile devices.[8]

Variance in airport loungesEdit

Traditional airport seating at Portland International Airport (PDX) in Portland, Oregon, USA gate

Seating in airports plays a significant role in the satisfaction of travelling passengers as well as their overall experience in airports. Seating is an important aspect of airports due because it provides both a pleasant airport experience and visual appeal.[9]

Purpose of seating stylesEdit

The design of the standard airport seating has not seen a significant change in over 50 years, and is fact known for its simplicity.[9] The primary focus of today’s airport seating goes to the size and comfort of seating to fit the environment that the airport and airline caters to.[10]

Airport lounges provide greater comfort and services in a place separate from the standard airport environment to travelers with a membership. While standard domestic and international airport lounges include basic seating and access to charging stations, these membership-based lounges provides more comfortable and spacious seating.[11]

Primary features of airport lounges include refreshments and bars, entertainment, relaxation, and unique seating styles.[11]

Types of seatingEdit

Dubai International Airport (DXB) provides airline travelers with a premium seating range of seating material in various colors of blue, red, black and grey.[10] Dubai International Airport (DXB) is an example of an airport that is focused on setting apart standards of original airport seating and experimenting with various colors to enhance appearance and comfort.

Priority Pass is a membership-based lounge access service that caters to airports around the world including Africa, Asia, Continental Europe, Latin America and The Caribbean, Middle East, North America and UK and England. With 25 years of service, Priority Pass provides passengers with elegant seating styles, far from ordinary.[12]

The first sleeping pod was introduced in 2013 to Helsinki Airport in Finland. The sleeping pod allowed airline travelers to relax in their own peaceful space. The pod features adjustment to be turned from a seat to a bed, storage area for carry-on luggage, as well as charging connectivity.[9]

Business class lounge at Bamako-Sénou International Airport offers relaxed seating including bar-style seating

Dubai International Airport (DXB) also features sleeping pods that fulfils a similar purpose at their Sleep ‘n Fly Lounge.[13]

Comfortability trendsEdit

The environment of airport waiting areas is continuously updated, and revamped. The purpose has been, to enhance the experience of the traveler. Due to the reinforcement of airport security, the wait time of a passenger has significantly increased. To accommodate customer experience, airports have applied major efforts in increasing comfort in the lobbies/seating areas.[14] The space surrounding the seating area within an airport is designed to encourage comfort, happiness and connectedness within travelers. The level of comfort within travelers has been dependent on a number of elements, which affect the surrounding environment.

The six airport servicescape factors[14] are:

  • Design
  • Scent
  • Functional organization
  • Air/lighting conditions
  • Seating
  • Cleanliness

In a study[14] regarding the importance of these factors, it was found that there is a positive correlation between the comfort of the traveler and the scent of the waiting area. A higher level of comfort has encouraged the desire to fly through a specific airline more than once.

Modern technologiesEdit

New styles of seating have been developed to accommodate new technologies. The Ampere modular tandem seating system[15] is designed to allow travelers to use multiple electrical devices while remaining seated in their chair.

GoSleep sleeping pods in Abu Dhabi International Airport provides privacy and comfort for sleeping in a public area

GoSleep sleeping pods[16] at the Abu Dhabi International Airport allow travelers to sleep during long layovers. The pods include a cover for security and privacy and power outlets for charging electronic devices.


  1. ^ a b Steve Thomas-Emberson (2007), Airport interiors: design for business, Wiley-Academy, p. 78, ISBN 978-0-470-03475-0
  2. ^ Conway Lloyd Morgan (2004), Show me the future, p. 118, ISBN 978-3-89986-031-3
  3. ^ "Hot Seat: Airport Furniture Designers Battle for Glory". The Wall Street Journal. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2011-02-20. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Jeremy Myerson, Philip Ross (2003), The 21st century office, p. 4:4, ISBN 978-1-85669-394-3
  5. ^ Donelson R. Forsyth (2009), Group Dynamics, pp. 459–460, ISBN 978-0-495-59952-4 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Donna P. Duerk (1993), Architectural Programming, John Wiley and Sons, p. 137, ISBN 978-0-471-28468-0
  7. ^ "Maximising airport seating capacity while ensuring customer satisfaction | Interview with Johan Berhin - International Airport Review". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  8. ^ "Eames Tandem Sling Seating Design Story". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  9. ^ a b c "Airport Seating: Where Modern Ideas and Classic Design Converge | Airline Passenger Experience". Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  10. ^ a b Williams, Paul. "In the hot seat - Airport World Magazine". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  11. ^ a b "Airport lounges 101: Why to use them and how to get in". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  12. ^ "Airport Lounge Access Worldwide | Priority Pass". Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  13. ^ "You can access over 1,000 Priority Pass airport lounges for free with certain credit cards — here are 9 of the best ones". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
  14. ^ a b c Bogicevic, Vanja; Yang, Wan; Cobanoglu, Cihan; Bilgihan, Anil; Bujisic, Milos (2016-10-01). "Traveler anxiety and enjoyment: The effect of airport environment on traveler's emotions". Journal of Air Transport Management. 57: 122–129. doi:10.1016/j.jairtraman.2016.07.019. ISSN 0969-6997.
  15. ^ Ampere modular tandem seating system, 2008-06-27, retrieved 2018-05-21 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Spyrou, Anna. “Middle Eastern Airports: What To Expect.” Travel Trade Mena, June 2017,