A new seating plan that could help airlines cope with the growing number of obese passengers has been submitted by Airbus.
The Airbus patent for a “Re-Configurable Passenger Bench Seat” would see planes able to accommodate all shapes and sizes with adjustable chairs and seatbelts.
The obesity crisis is currently a hot topic in the flight industry, with some smaller airlines charging passengers by their weight and others adding larger seats.
As these unusual drawings submitted with the US Patent and Trademark Office show the ‘bench seat’ could comfortably fit two “overweight passengers” with an armrest between them.
Alternatively an airline could place three more slender passengers in the same space or even a whole family with mum, dad and two kids filling the seats.
It could help airlines deal with an increasing number of larger passengers taking to the skies and also reduce prices for families who currently have to pay for a full price seat once kids are over two-years-old.
These drawings show how the bench seats could be used for three more slender passengers...
Or even a family of four...
In the patent application, Airbus, which employs 6,000 people at Broughton , say: “In modern means of transport, particularly in aircraft, optimum utilization of the space available in a passenger cabin is of major economic importance.
“The cabin layout, particularly the layout of the passenger seats arranged in the passenger cabin, such as the allocation of a row of passenger seats to business class or to economy class for example, should be as flexibly, rapidly and easily re-configurable as possible.
“In addition, efforts are made to design the passenger cabin of a commercial aircraft in such a way that flexible adaptation of the cabin layout to the requirements of specific user groups, such as, for example, families with small children, senior citizens, people with restricted mobility, etc.”
So how would it work?
It adds: “In its first configuration, the passenger bench seat then offers an increased amount of space to two passengers. In its first configuration, therefore, the passenger bench seat is suitable, for example, for use in the business class of a commercial aircraft or for occupation by passengers who require increased space such as, for example, overweight passengers or passengers with restricted mobility.
“In its second configuration, on the other hand, the passenger bench seat may be expediently used in the economy class of a commercial aircraft and offers sufficient space for three passengers who do not require increased space.
“Finally, in its third configuration, the passenger bench seat is particularly well suited to use by families with small children since, in its third configuration, the passenger bench seat offers sufficient space for two adults and also for two small children sitting, for example, between the two adults.”
This is the latest patent submitted from the forward looking aerospace group, with previous submissions including a stacking seating system for passengers, detachable cabins and folding wings.