Forget complaining about not enough legroom on an airliner and be thankful that there’s still headroom. A new patent filed by European aviation giant Airbus takes advantage of that little-used space above where people sit to offer a flying experience that’s somewhat akin to summer camp bunk beds, only at hundreds of miles per hour and surrounded by grown-up strangers.
Named, very technically, "Passenger Seat Arrangement For A Vehicle" the patent features not just rows but layers of seats. While primarily designed for airplanes, the patent helpfully notes that it is suitable for other means of passenger transport, like buses or trains.
While most airplanes are already densely packed, the patent observes that wide-body airplanes (think Boeing Jumbo Jets or the Airbus 330 family) aren’t utilized to their full economic potential. From the patent:
In order to still more efficiently use the space in a passenger cabin of an aircraft, [this patent] proposes to position an elevated deck structure on a main deck floor in the passenger cabin of a wide-body aircraft for providing a mezzanine seating area in a substantially unused upper lobe of the aircraft fuselage.
For comparison, here is what seating looked like below decks in an ancient Greek trireme warship, where three rows of rowers were stacked on top of one another.
For now, this seating arrangement is just an Airbus patent, and there’s no guarantee that it will work its way into a future airplane design. If it does, we can at least be thankful that passengers won’t be responsible for rowing the flight. Yet.