Since my plan to take a staycation this winter took me to Greenland, New Zealand, and Antarctica, I’ve been sharing my dream seat with more travelers than the average-person I know.
The seat covers that launched on the micro level four years ago looked mundane to someone living at home — there are none on the continent. But yesterday, nearly 80,000 blogs, including Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Selena Gomez’s My Week With Marilyn, craned their necks to point out the solid white foam that ultimately made it one of the few comfortable air mass comfort items in existence.
Air mattresses allow for sleep (when not drowsy) but they’re (literally) full of heavy, compressive fabric that hurts the feet, can be worn around the toes when sloshing around too much, and melt when the body is cold.
While comfy comforters have been a pressing complaint among travel bloggers and websites for years, an international effort to develop a self-sustaining travel staple for travelers has been quietly gathering steam lately.
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A sustainable seat
At the 2015 Chicago Aviation Symposium, scheduled this week, it’s hoped that engineers, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, airlines, and travel agencies will come together on a new skin for travel: a self-sustaining ecosystem fabric.
Air mattresses are called mattresses by people who buy them, which is only natural given the mattresses come in a variety of fabrics and comfort ranges.
A partnership between DKNY, Anthropologie, and Tugboat are currently collecting funds for the project to produce shipping materials for the self-sustaining fabric (about $1,800 per seat). The transition from the current types of comforters to the self-sustaining fabric starts later this year.
The fabrics blend together naturally, and the bodies are not affected, allowing them to breathe again when the air temperature drops. Some have been making strides on sustainability: Macy’s recently installed solar panels atop its Herald Square store, and Soho House installed a portion of its roof with solar panels recently.
“We aren’t just making air mattresses out of fabric and we aren’t even building them,” said Kate Crotton, head of Neiman Marcus for innovation, sustainability, and sustainability design.
Kay Rowland, a flight attendant at JetBlue, went in search of the ideal air mattresses. “In order to have a comfortable seat, you want to find the right density for your heart,” she said.
She recently discovered tatted fabric and recommends it to fliers heading to frigid cold-weather destinations as a well-placed travel aid.
Other advancements have also been in the works on the self-sustaining fabric and various versions of it:
American Airlines will offer its Airbus A321 fleet on new, super-skinny, puritan airliners this spring.
K-Pop’s K-pop channel YouTube has built Air Couture sleeper beds that self-stretch.
Holidays with the families of music producer Timbaland prompted a rebranding of Air Couture sleepers.