clock menu more-arrow no yes

Let's all pray this idea for hellish airplane seating never becomes a reality

Is this the future of flight? Get ready for some contact.
Is this the future of flight? Get ready for some contact.
ESpace Patent Search

Is this tangled mass of limbs the future of flight?

Wired's Jordan Golson spotted this horrifying patent from Zodiac Seat France. It imagines a future in which the legs and arms of strangers on a connecting flight to Atlanta are constantly grazing one another.

The patent claims good intentions — the idea is to "increase cabin density while also creating seat units that increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area." The seats can be configured in other ways as well, though the most likely arrangement is the space-maximizing configuration seen in the drawing above.

Another angle looks like something from a future Mad Max sequel:

If Hieronymus Bosch drew patents, this would be his masterpiece.

If Hieronymus Bosch drew patents, this would be his masterpiece.

ESpace Patent Search

Of course, this is just a patent application — who knows if it will ever be implemented. It may join the dustbin of history along with more pleasant flying innovations, like a family-friendly seating arrangement and the many designs for accommodating "high percentage hip widths."

But there are a lot of scary ideas out there, too — and not just the proposals for standing-room-only flights. This 1998 patent, intended for long flights, shows an arrangement where your fellow passengers are constantly hovering over your head.

Some of these look like yoga positions, but they're actually how you're supposed to sit.

Some of these look like yoga positions, but they're actually how you're supposed to sit.

Google Patents

Still, most of these ideas probably won't happen, so don't be too fearful of 12 hours of knee-on-knee contact. Instead, dream about the future.

After all, in 1995, somebody patented an overhead conveyer belt for airline food:

A conveyer belt for food. No more blocked aisles, and easier access to a full can of soda.

A conveyer belt for food. No more blocked aisles, and easier access to a full can of soda.

Google Patents


WATCH: The better way to board a plane

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.