An entrepreneur from Manchester is behind a new device which helps reduce the chances of passengers contracting Covid or any other infections from the person they are sitting next to.
Christopher Michaels has created ISO-SEAT, a patented and registered medical device which attaches to the side of a plane seat and provides a temporary retractable barrier between passengers.
Michaels, from Stalybridge near Manchester, originally came up with the idea as a means of easily creating extra privacy in economy class seats.
But with the pandemic heightening awareness of the potential of contracting an infection from somebody sitting nearby, he has now succeeded in securing official classification for ISO-SEAT as a medical device.
Michaels devised the product – which is made from either 100% recycled paper or plastic – on his dining room table and built the prototype in his workshop.
He subsequently tested the product at Tameside College in Manchester, where there is a lifesize replica of an airplane cabin that is usually used to train cabin crew.
He has now secured expressions of interest from a number of travel companies, and is also working on a device for the cinema market.
Michaels said: “Our overall aim with ISO-SEAT is to bring some first-class privacy to economy passengers, to help keep them safe from infection, boost customer confidence, and to create a new revenue stream for the airlines.”
The product is due to hit the market in July, with a two-pack set to retail at £4.99.
He’s also hoping airlines will be attracted by the potential of a new revenue stream at a time when the travel industry has been hit so badly.
“Airlines could be in full control of the design of their device, including its material, size, shape and colour,” Michaels added.
“There’s also a great advertising opportunity, with airlines able to sell advertising space to brands they are associated with.”
Michaels, who along with his Head of Product Development Luke Podmore has spent a year on the device, previously invented the i! Frame – the world’s first Patented Premier League-style goal frame for junior football or the garden – for the McDonalds UK Grassroots Football Campaign.