Airlines have done just about everything they can to cram in more seats, and as a result we’re now at the point airplane seating has gotten so crowded that a consumer group has asked for a new Passenger Bill of Rights to set minimum airplane seat size. But more seats equal more money, and Airbus has come up with a new way to add even more seating into already limited space: do the same thing cities do when they run out of space and can no longer build across — start building up.
The plane manufacturer has filed a patent with the European Patent Office for designs. The new layout would feature a raised mezzanine for extra seating inside the cabin. If the seating plan ever comes to fruition, not only will you have someone’s seatback to worry about, you might get one more passenger coming down above you. As the patent diagrams show, you could at least have a booty hanging above your face (and what could be wrong with that?).
But don’t worry, the patent assures the new design will still provide, “a high level of comfort.”
“In the reclined lying position, the backrest portion may extend at an angle of approximately 130 to 180 relative to the seating portion. In one embodiment of the passenger seating arrangement…at least one of the first and the second seat in its reclined lying position, is provide an entirely flat supporting surface.”
Well, that does sound nice, particularly for those sitting up top — as long as they don’t mind climbing down from a glorified bunk bed every time they want to stretch their legs or use the bathroom.
This could be a significant improvement over modern-day economy. But the patent actually recommends this scheme for business class, which does make sense from an available space perspective, but it’s hard to imagine anyone who’s paid several thousand dollars for a ticket agree to be “stacked” in any way, shape or form.
How it’s all stacked remains a very open question, as the patent proposes no less than seven formations. Some look more appealing than others. Figure 10, for example, has passengers facing each other in a way that’s not totally dissimilar to the recently revealed “honeycomb” seating plan that was the subject of internet outrage.
Thankfully, the idea remains just that, according to one Airbus spokesperson, who reassured the Telegraph:
“This does not mean they are necessarily going to be adopted into an aircraft design. This preserves the innovation and idea.”
For now we’ll just hope Airbus adopts one of these innovative ideas instead.