European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has recently patented a new layout for its aircraft which would allow two tiers of seating.
The patents in question describe a way of stacking passengers on top of each other in order to maximize the use of space in an aircraft.
Airbus filed these patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office as well as the European Patent Office.
“In modern means of transport, in particular in aircraft, it is very important from an economic point of view to make optimum use of the available space in a passenger cabin,” the company explained in the filing.
Under this design, Business Class passengers in the middle rows of an aircraft would have a second row of passengers aligned above them in the dead space between the overhead baggage compartments.
Passengers on the higher level would reach their seats through the use of small, bunk-bed style ladders.
While the design crams more people in to the same space, Airbus’s patents show both rows being able to fully recline their seats.
With such an arrangement, the company’s diagrams show that it would be able to seat an additional two passengers per row.
Airbus maintains that its new patented design “provides a high level of comfort”, but it is difficult to see how this arrangement will be better for already claustrophobic plane travel.
Indeed, their new design represents a significant reduction in the headroom of a passenger, something that has until now stayed reasonably static, while leg room declined.
This latest patent by Airbus, is the most recent in a series of bizarre designs intended to help aircraft crowd more passengers on each plane.
Driven by the ultra-competitive market for low-cost airlines, aircraft companies have also trademarked ways to ‘seat’ passengers in standing harnesses or in alternating forward and backwards arrangements to save space.
Despite this, none of these patents, including this most recent one by Airbus, have been implemented in new aircraft designs, perhaps due to fears of their rejection by customers.