Waiting at Tampa’s Airport Gets a Little More Comfy

Tampa International’s seats get cupholders and more with a $2.4 million improvement project
Chairs inside Tampa International Airport.
A familiar symbol of Tampa International, the chairs have been part of the building since it opened in 1971. TIA photo

This summer, people waiting at the gates of Tampa International Airport may find that the airport’s signature seating is a little more

The leather seats, backs, and arms of the famous sling seating in the Main Terminal and airsides are being replaced. The job had to be done because the seats needed routine maintenance after years of being used by tens of millions of people every year.

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The seats are made by Herman Miller and are called Eames Tandem Sling Seating. There are about 5,850 of them at the airport. The durable, simple, and comfy Midcentury Modern designs were first made by Charles and Ray Eames in 1962. Since Tampa International opened in 1971, they have been a mainstay in the waiting areas.

Reupholstering is done at night to keep visitors as comfortable as possible, and several gates in Airside A are already done. Because the design and materials are made to last, the airport is able to fix up the seats instead of removing them.

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As a bonus for Tampa International passengers, the airport is adding cupholders to every other chair arm on each airside. Also, chairs in the Main Terminal are getting new seats, but they won’t have cupholders.

The new Eames chairs cost about $2.4 million and are part of the Airport’s Capital Improvement Program. New black couch chairs from Agati Furniture cost another $300,000 and were also part of the Airport’s Capital Improvement Program. The work on the swing chairs began in June and should be done by the middle of December.

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