Today in Questionable Airbus Patents, it's not the pilot being displaced; it's our sweet, precious legroom. And about three-quarters of the seats themselves. We just hope you're not a fan of personal space, because otherwise — it's going to be a long flight.
This newest patent is all about cutting down on "bulk", the word here referring to seat backs, cushions, tray tables, half the seats themselves, and any remaining semblance of dignity, apparently. Still, Airbus seems assured that customers won't mind. In the patent, the company explains:
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 maximise 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 the 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.
In other words: eh, they will be fine. The upside to all this torture, though, is that it does create the potential for absurdly cheap air travel — if you can take it.
Of course, as The Washington Post points out, the new bike saddles on sticks do leave quite a few questions unanswered. Are we just getting rid of tray tables? What about personal carry-on items? Will these pipes save me if the plane goes under? And why are my seat neighbours touching me?
Of course, this is just a patent at this point, and as Airbus told the LA Times, these seats are still just in concept mode. A terrifying, dystopian concept mode. [US Patent and Trademark Office via The Washington Post]