Luxury requires seat modernization

By Michaela Oberbauer

The American motorcoach market has been in a state of rapid change this past decade, moving toward increased comfort, style and enhanced passenger experiences. Improved seating is a crucial aspect of coach interior modernization, and operators must keep the following factors in mind when selecting their “seat of the future:”

A tapered back is critical, as it provides enough aisle room and vision for tourist and sightseeing tours. The Avance 2050 by Kiel, for example has aisle handles on the side and also optionally on the back of the seat, allowing passengers more personal space.

Hip-to-knee room and space utilization are also important factors. With the right seat, an operator can fit up to 61 seats in a full-size motorcoach without sacrificing sufficient legroom.

The luxury motorcoach segment requires many amenities you might expect to see on a modern airline – adjustable tables with integrated cup holders, and maybe even slots for iPads or other tablets. Additional features might include USB and 110-V connections, magazine nets, plastic back-covers for easy cleaning, additional handles and luxury upholstery variations.

For safety, it’s important to remember that slider systems built to ADA standards may be necessary. Further, all seats should be equipped with integrated three-point belts according to the newest legal requirements, and include the new child-seat restraint requirement.

Another luxury feature operators should look for is the automatic recline-reset system currently used by many transportation operators and companies providing tourist and passenger service. It moves the backrest from the recline position to the upright position automatically as soon as riders leave their seats. The seat back needs about approximately two minutes to move into the upright position. This also provides a major advantage for overnight or evening cleaning, as staff have easy access to the upright seats.

Michaela Oberbauer serves as general manager of Kiel North America. Kiel is helping to modernize coach interiors with the design of the Avance 2050, the preferred model; the Avance 2010 and 2025, the superior models for passenger transportation; and the Avance 1020 and Avance 1030, built for the luxury coach segment. Visit Booth #9113 at APTA EXPO or online at for more information.