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. Equity

    Berlin Will Freeze Rents for Five Years

    Local lawmakers agreed to one of Europe’s most radical rental laws, but it sets the stage for a battle with Germany’s national government.

  2. A photo of a Google employee on a bicycle.
    Equity

    How Far Will Google’s Billion-Dollar Bay Area Housing Plan Go?

    The single largest commitment by a private employer to address the Bay Area’s acute affordable housing crisis is unique in its focus on land redevelopment.

  3. A photo of Madrid's Gran Via
    Environment

    Is This the End of the Road for Madrid’s Car Ban?

    With more conservative leadership moving in after elections, the Spanish capital’s pollution-fighting regulations on private vehicles may be in danger.

  4. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

  5. A photo of a new apartment building under construction in Boston.
    Equity

    In Massachusetts, a ‘Paper Wall’ of Zoning Is Blocking New Housing

    Despite the area’s progressive politics, NIMBY-minded residents in and around Boston are skilled in keeping multi-family housing at bay.

×