First or business class cabins may one day reach new heights with this radical design which features elevated seats that fold into beds.

Passengers who are in the so-called "super throne" suites, which are enclosed or open, can recline into a lying position and nap partially above two fellow travellers, who are in traditional seats at floor level.

One photo from Formation Design, the brainchild of the premium cabin concept, shows a passenger snoozing in an enclosed suite that has a sliding door and glass window.

The Atlanta-based firm said it is looking for airlines or seat manufacturers to license and co-develop the concept.

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Split-level seating in premium cabins has been proposed in the past, but it hasn't taken off just yet.

Formation Design said its concept, shortlisted for the 2016 Crystal Cabin Award, has seat counts that are comparable to traditional first or business class cabins.

It would have larger beds thanks to the use of vertical cabin space and, depending on the aircraft, almost every seat would have direct aisle access.

One diagram shows what the concept would look like if it were incorporated into a premium cabin on board a Boeing 777.

Of the 32 seats, eight would be forward-facing "throne" seats, measuring 30in by 80in, while the remaining 24 would be slightly smaller and forward or rearward facing.

The premium lie-flat seat concept is aimed at increasing cabin space efficiency while improving every passenger's living space. Photo / Formation Design
The premium lie-flat seat concept is aimed at increasing cabin space efficiency while improving every passenger's living space. Photo / Formation Design

All but four of the seats would have direct access to the aisle, unlike the configuration on a Airbus A330 or A340, where every seat would have access to an aisle, according to designs.

On the two Airbus aircraft, four of the 32 seats would be elevated "throne" seats.

Those four seats would have stowage compartments large enough for a roller bag, said Formation Design.

For the sake of aesthetics and practical storage, there would be no compartments above the "super throne" seats, even though most wide-body aircraft have enough headroom to accommodate the elevated suite and overhead bins.

- Daily Mail