Last month, Airbus filed a patent for a new kind of airline seat, called a “seating device comprising a forward-foldable backrest.” This is a revolutionary idea that will enable them to pack more people onto a flight by eliminating that silly cushioned seat that can double as a flotation device and replace it with a foldable bicycle seat. The backrest will be a tiny lumbar support. No more tray, which you don’t need because they don’t serve meals on planes anyway. No more armrests, since you and your seat mate fight over them anyway.
Airbus openly acknowledges that packing more passengers on board is going to result in reduced comfort, and that the goal is basically to figure out how far they can go without inciting an airborne revolt.
"Reduced comfort remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours," Airbus sagely calculates, before going on to explain why reducing leg room provides diminishing returns:
"This second solution has also been pursued hitherto," the patent application reads, "and it is difficult to continue to further reduce this distance between the seats because of the increase in the average size of the passengers."
This reminds me of something else, I just can’t place my finger on it.
Yes, that’s it. The same thought occurred to The Washington Post, where you can read more about the new airline seating idea from your friends at Airbus.