International design company Zephyr is in talks with Air New Zealand as well a number of other international airlines regarding its concept for a new, social distancing appropriate double-decker aircraft seat design.
Zephyr said its team is made up of frequent travellers who knew first hand - or first bottom - that airline seat design has remained fundamentally unchanged since the 1970s.
The company's website says "99 percent of all economy class seats are fixed upright and impossible to sleep in. They force unnatural postures over long periods of time and can damage health."
While an upgrade to business class can mean a flat-bed flight, the substantial jump in cost means that is simply not an option for the majority of travellers. Most premium economy seats offer additional leg room, but still no lie-flat option.
"Zephyr is a lie-flat seat designed for economy class travellers on long distance flights," the company said in its start-up pitch.
"Our patent pending design introduces a social-distancing compliant seating module that will disrupt the entire airline industry and make flying great again for all travellers."
A study conducted by the company found 70 percent of travellers would happily swap inflight entertainment, meals and lounges in return for the ability to lie flat.
The design offers passengers multi-functional usage - to lie completely flat, lounge or sit upright with their legs fully extended.
Usually, more spacious seating means a big drop in the number of people an aircraft can carry and an increase in prices. But Zephyr's design actually allows for at least 20 percent more passengers, and without meals, excessive baggage and premium amenities would allow airlines to charge the lowest airfares on the market for a lie-flat bed.
Zephyr said it's looking to sign a product development partnership with a major airline in the coming year to begin rolling out its design on passenger planes.
Air NZ has not confirmed it is in talks with Zephyr.