Does Airbus seat concept take us closer to stand-up position?

Rotation

Airbus may be promoting a comfort standard for long-haul aircraft, but that hasn’t stopped it from tabling ideas for super high-density seating for short-haul aircraft.

The European airframer’s concept for a “seating device with a forward-foldable backrest” was recently revealed by the hugely valuable @AeroPatent handle on Twitter (truly a must follow).

In its patent application, filed December 2013, Airbus explains that the seating device comprises “a backrest which describes a circular translational movement towards the front and upwards of the device when the seating device is brought to the retracted configuration.

“A seating structure is provided comprising a bearing piece on which are fixed, side by side, a plurality of seating devices with reduced bulk.”

It’s difficult to see how this type of seat would pass 16G certification testing, but “never say never”, as they say. What’s interesting is that in prior years, Airbus has pooh-poohed the idea of ‘stand-up’ seating, and yet, this type of configuration would appear to take us one step closer to such a reality.

Indeed, on seeing the design, @Hula121 on Twitter quipped, “Somewhere, Michael O’Leary is licking his chops.” O’Leary famously claimed interest in offering stand-up seats on 1-hour flights. The concept below wouldn’t see passengers standing fully upright…but we certainly wouldn’t be sitting down fully either!

Airbus high-density

 

12 Comments

  1. MONNIDES

    The airlines industry is going crazy, they buy planes like one buys peanuts, they propose to get rid of safety belt (Ryanair) they charge to use the toilet , they charge to print a ticket, they propose stand-up flight (Ryanair again) anything to save money and now this foldable backrest. All of this to save money which quite understandable at the cost of comfort. The issue is airlines industry is poorly managed, they simply don’t know where and how to reduce their cost , they simply come up with stupid idea like those above.

    • JETCAL1

      MONNIDES,
      As pax we demand the lowest possible fare. So, this cannot completely be laid at the doorstep of the airlines. They are catering to market demand.

  2. JETCAL1

    Please add this to my last comment:
    Although the apparent crashworthiness of these seats makes me cringe thinking of the back and neck injuries and the associated costs of the subsequent lawsuits. One non-fatal high load factor accident and the seats would probably out to be a false economy.

    • Mary Kirby
      Author

      I share your concern about crashworthiness. Separately, I wonder if this concept would be considered for a section of the aircraft. I don’t see how pregnant women, children, the elderly, passengers of size and passengers with reduced mobility could/would be accommodated.

      • jetcal1

        I don’t know Mary, If the spreaders were designed to be moved, the airline might just fit two larger pax on one of these seats and charge them extra. I can see it now when buying online; “please enter your height and weight” and up pops your seat assignment plus a “passenger displacement” fee. But I suspect once the legal department performs an analysis of potential injuries the seats as illustrated would be a no-go.

        Pregnant women, the elderly, and passengers with reduced mobility would all get regular seats and also pay a surcharge. (Can we just strap the children to the floor?)

    • jetcal1

      Bob,
      Maybe not. Look a the success of the LCC’s. People will book the cheapest possible flight and then complain about the airline.

      • MONNIDES

        Bob, booking the cheapest is one thing and loving to fly with such seats is another thing, they won’t booked again…………

  3. Todd Richardson

    I wouldn’t concern myself with these too much. Everyone these days file patents just to have them on record. Really it’s pie in the sky dreaming that designers do. Now what I would to see if a seat manufacturer run with an offset economy class seat give you some elbow room Lake Thompson aerospace. I think there is potential in the concept especially on regional aircraft