It appears that Airbus is working on new ways to make flying more comfortable for overweight passengers. As The Consumerist reports, the aircraft manufacturer has filed a patent application for a "Re-Configurable Passenger Bench Seat," which envisions airline seats not as individual chairs, but a single bench.
The seat belts on each bench could be configured to accommodate two large adults, three less large adults, or two adults and two children. In the application, which was filed in August and published by the US Patent and Trade Office this month, Airbus says the design can be "adapted to the requirements of the operator" and "to the requirements of specific groups," including senior citizens, overweight passengers, and those with restricted mobility.
Airline companies have explored a variety of ways to accommodate overweight or obese passengers, covering both seat design and cabin layout. A particularly dystopian patent filed by Airbus called for travelers to be stacked on top of one another. Other forward-looking patents filed by the French aerospace company include designs for a removable cabin module and a hypersonic jet that would fly at more than four times the speed of sound.
Airbus has also filed a patent application for storage containers that would be placed under each passenger's seat. The design would allow flyers to place items under their cushion rather than under the seat in front of them, though it appears that the containers would also reduce legroom, while making it more cumbersome to retrieve items in the middle of a flight. As with all patents, however, it's unclear whether any of Airbus' latest ideas will ever see the light of day.