Google

More people would fit on a plane if they would sit on hinged bike saddles.

In an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Airbus has sought a patent for an innovation in airplane seating—hinged bike saddles. 

The European airplane maker filed the application–officially named “Seating device comprising a forward-foldable backrest”—with the USPTO on June 12, 2014. Among the application’s claims is the seat’s ability to “avoid providing an excessive necessary distance” between seats—AKA legroom. Among the application’s omissions is a tray table (or even a cup holder).

More seats on a plane can mean more revenue for an airline even after a ticket-price reductions to account for the less-desirable seating arrangement. (Current regulations in the US and European Union require certain numbers of cabin crew per passenger, so there would be higher labor costs for cramming in people this way.)

There is also no guarantee that such a configuration would pass muster with aviation safety authorities. European discount airline Ryanair in 2012 said a regulator thwarted its plan to sell standing-only airplane tickets and provide handrails and straps for passengers.

A spokeswoman for Airbus told the L.A. Times that the filing is conceptual and “Many, if not most, of these concepts will never be developed, but in case the future of commercial aviation makes one of our patents relevant, our work is protected.”
 
Airbus is not the only company thinking about new ways squeeze more passengers onto a plane. Other recent ideas include adjustable-width “hammock seats,” seats that keep a passenger partially standing, and configurations that are lofted over another.
 
As the success of Ryanair in Europe and Spirit Airlines in the US has shown, many passengers are be willing to give up traditional comforts while flying for a cheaper fare. These seats might be just what the budget traveler are looking for.
 
 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    Why Amsterdam’s Canal Houses Have Endured for 300 Years

    A different kind of wealth distribution in 17th-century Amsterdam paved the way for its quintessential home design.

  2. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  3. photo: Developer James Rouse visiting Harborplace in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
    Life

    What Happened to Baltimore’s Harborplace?

    The pioneering festival marketplace was among the most trendsetting urban attractions of the last 40 years. Now it’s looking for a new place in a changed city.

  4. Equity

    What ‘Livability’ Looks Like for Black Women

    Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of ranking.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×