Expanding airline seats for larger passengers

'The Morph', created by the London-based company Seymourpowell, is a form of adjustable seating which changes depending on the size of the person occupying it, or the amount of room they desire.

According to a promotional video for the concept, two sheets of fabric – one for the seat back, and one for the seat base – are stretched across the width of an entire row, and over a movable frame. The fabric is held in place by armrests and upper dividers to form three individual "hammock seats". The fabric can be tailored to fit the person sitting in it, while the dividers slide from side to side, allowing the airline to make some seats wider.

"The aircraft can be arranged by the willingness and ability to pay for space, blurring the boundaries between the classes... moving quickly from a high density economy ticket to a lower density more premium ticket," it says.

"Passengers can choose to pay for a big seat, one that fits them. Premium passengers can relax in space big enough to sleep, or work in privacy. Families travelling together can tune their seat according to size. For example, mum, dad and infant could pre-book a large, medium and small seat. Children or smaller passengers could trade space for a cheaper ticket."

While the concept might appeal to smaller travellers, it is likely to be considered discriminatory by taller fliers, who require more space.

The idea of charging larger passengers more is not new.

Earlier this year Samoa Air became the first airline in the world to charge people according to their weight. Passengers on the airline do not pay for a seat but pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies according to the length of the route.

In April Airbus announced plans to add extra-wide seats to some planes to accommodate bigger fliers. The seats, measuring 20 inches in width, rather than 18, would cost more.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, has previously backed called for an airline "fat tax", but last month claimed he no longer supported the idea.

The Telegraph, London