Here’s Airbus’ Plan to Seat Obese Flyers

February 23, 2016, 7:41 PM UTC
Airbus Group SE A350-900 Tour Arrives At Newark Liberty Airport
Entertainment screens operate on economy class seats in an Airbus Group SE A350 XWB jet during a media tour at Newark Liberty Airport in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., on Thursday, July 16, 2015. Airbus had 781 confirmed orders for the A350 XWB jet at the end of June, according to Air Transport World. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Michael Nagle—Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

The days of cramped flights soon may be over for overweight travelers.

Airbus Group has filed a patent application earlier this month for a new seating design, one that could relieve the aches and groans of squished globetrotters. The plan would replace airplanes seats with a “reconfigurable passenger bench.”

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The advantage to benches is that they could accommodate passengers of various sizes. Obese flyers, small children, or extra passengers might all fit together in a row, for example.

As the applications details, the bench could be used “for occupation by passengers who require increased space,” including overweight passengers and those with restricted mobility. The bench could also accommodate expanded capacity, such as seating three passengers or families with small children (two adults and two small children, say).

As so, as found in the patent application:

Plenty of room.
Screenshot of Airbus patent application

Airlines seats have shrunk several inches over the past few decades. At the same time, obesity rates in America have been on the rise. The combination has made for an uncomfortable trend on flights: cramming more mass into less space.

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Then again, airlines could just make the regular seats bigger.