An Airbus Vision for the Future of Airplane Seating

Feb 24, 2016

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When it comes to airplane seat arrangements, Boeing and Airbus have been filing a lot of patents, from 12-across in business class to stackable seating and “saddle seats.”

We can add another one to the list. Airbus recently filed a patent application for another unique style of seating arrangement, the “Re-Configurable Passenger Bench Seat.”

Airbus shows how the bench could be used for a family of four. Image courtesy of Airbus’ patent.

In theory, it makes sense. Airlines would have the flexibility to configure the bench seating as a row for two larger adults, as three standard seats or as seats for a four-person family with two small children.

However, with so many seatbelt plugs and armrests built into the bench, it seems quite likely that the bench would end up rather uncomfortable — especially for anyone stuck sitting in the middle.

Could adjustable seating be coming to an Airbus you fly soon? Image courtesy of Airbus’ patent.

Don’t worry just yet: Many of these patents are just ideas that will likely never make it onto airplanes — or at least we hope. The US patent system rewards the person/company that first files an idea, so the mad scientists at Boeing and Airbus are incentivized to draw up and file any idea that they can brainstorm. That doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily fly.

I feel like I have already experienced bench seats on Ryanair!
I feel like I’ve already experienced bench seats on Ryanair! Would the Airbus version be more or less comfortable?

If this does eventually make it to airplanes, it’ll be interesting to see how airlines price seats for the bench. Would they have dedicated rows for larger passengers, where the airline sells just two tickets? Or, will they sell the entire bench together as one unit to families? Could a couple traveling together buy the bench and pay a premium to block the middle seat — like the Air New Zealand Skycouch?

Hopefully, time won’t tell.

H/T: Travel & Leisure

What do you think of this seating concept?


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