Monday, July 14, 2014

Making Your Flying Experience Even Less Enjoyable.

Updated October 2016

With the news that Boeing is planning to squeeze 200 passengers into its high capacity 737 Max 8 that will hit the skies in 2017, I got to thinking about the general unpleasantness of air travel in general.  With that in mind, here is a look at a new patent from the European Patent Office:

Yes, the engineers at AirBus Operations have designed and patented a standing seat for airplane passengers that looks to be most akin to a bicycle seat.  The seating surface folds down when not in use, maximizing space.  AirBus describes it as an invention that: 

"...relates to a seating device with reduced bulk, for example for an aircraft.  In the aeronautical sector, some so-called "low-cost" airlines seek to increase the number of passengers transported on each flight, and more particularly on short-haul links, in order to maximize the return on the use of the aircraft.  To that end, and by using the same aircraft or an aircraft of similar capacity, the number of seats in the cabin must be increased.  In all cases, this increase in the number of seats is achieved to the detriment of the comfort of passengers.  In effect, to increase the number of cabin seats, the space allotted to each passenger must be reduced.  However, this reduced comfort remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours." (my bold)

AirBus goes on to note that seating width is already at its minimum (particularly true given the increasing average heft of many passengers) and that it is not possible to further reduce seat width.  As well, it is not possible to increase the number of seats by reducing the distance between two seats since leg room is already at an uncomfortably low level given that many passengers are somewhat over 5 feet 2 inches tall.  To that end, AirBus proposes to reduce the overall bulk of the seat itself.  While this is a fine idea, with the increased seating density, the ability of passengers to access non-aisle seats from the aisle.  Once again, the wise minds at AirBus leap to the rescue and have created a seat with reduced bulk that retracts, allowing for wider access to non-aisle seats.

On this diagram, you can see how the system works when the seats are placed in rows:

Please notice that on the top sketch, there is a row of seats located between the two gentlemen.  This is reminiscent of the standing airplane seats designed by Italy's Aviointeriors back in 2010:

It may just be me, but don't the AirBus seats make the Aviointerior seats with their 23 inches of leg room look like first class seating by comparison?

As if flying weren't a miserable enough adventure already.  Now that "few hours" could be spent in absolute misery.


  1. But it's in passengers' interest to have low cost uncomfortable travel options available, isn't it? So long as they have the option of paying more for more comfort.

  2. Sure, as long as the prices reflect the discomfort. The problem could be that this becomes the new norm with the same pricing as we currently have and add-ons like regular seating are available at a significant premium, just like that luggage that used to board for free!

  3. A good idea taken to absurdity. Sitting a little taller can reduce the need for leg room. Sort of like sitting on a dining room chair, as opposed to stretching out in lounge chair. Then again, the "lounge chairs" in first call are far more comfortable than anything further back in the plane.
    The look on the woman's face in the picture says it all.

  4. Wow I really can only hope this doesn't make it's way onto planes.

  5. This will really take its toll on the oldest, fattest, and out of shape passengers. Ironic or a system of pay back?

  6. Yawn. Alert me when anybody starts using such seats. Until then, nothing to see here...

    1. Because air travel hasn't gotten more and more miserable over the past few decades? Trust the system, yeah...

  7. Ah, the flying cattle car.

  8. Train and bus travel is looking pretty good. As long as you don't really really really have to be there in a day then adding an extra day or thre can help you enjoy travel better, read more, and enjoy the scenery. I hate flying today and when I retire in a few years I will do everything possible to avoid air travel.