Airbus has filed a patent that would put adjustable benches in place of traditional airplane seats.
The new benches could accommodate several overweight passengers or a smaller family of four, allowing for more seating on each flight.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the request, which details bench-style seating with a flexible numbers of seat belts and storable armrests that could seat up to four people and help “optimize” cabin space.
“The layout of the passenger seats arranged in the passenger cabin… should be as flexibly, rapidly and easily re-configurable as possible,”Airbus’ filing, on the Patent Office’s website on February 11, reads.
Mock-ups of the new bench-style seating show how the benches could adapt to either two large passengers, three average-sized adults, or a family with two small children.
In its filing Airbus has been careful to explain that the patent isn’t just for overweight passengers, but also families with small children, seniors, and people with restricted mobility.
This isn’t the first time Airbus has filed a patent for new forms of plane transportation. Last year the company asked for a patent that would create a type of stackable seats that were akin to bunk beds.
Several years ago a patent was filed for a standing seat that allows for a small seat attached to a vertical chair. The goal was to allow for more passenger capacity by having passengers stand during flights.
The new Airbus bench seating doesn’t recline, which likely means it would be a solution on domestic and not international flights.