New seat 'stacking' design: Airbus designs plane cabin that seats passengers on top of each other

Airbus, one of the world's biggest aircraft manufacturers, has designed a row of seats on a second level mezzanine for planes to make the most of vacant space.

A number of different designs show how seats built into another level on an aircraft could allow space for reclining chairs on both levels, with bunk bed-style steps leading to the upper seats, while the lower-level would be comprised of ottomans.

Airbus also says the design could be used to make the most of space on other forms of transport, too, including buses and trains.

The patent filed with the European Patent Office by Airbus's Hamburg-based inventors, explained: "In modern means of transport, in particular in aircraft, it is very important from an economic point of view to make optimum use of the available space in the passenger cabin.

"Passenger cabins are therefore fitted with as many rows of passenger seats as possible, which are positioned with as little space between them as possible."

Airbus says the mezzanine seats in a wide-body aircraft would "still provide a high level of comfort for passengers", while making use of a "substantially un-used upper lobe of the aircraft fuselage".

The patent shows that seats would be positioned in such a way to provide maximum space, and ideally keep the limbs and other body parts of passengers out of each customer's eyeline.

There is no guarantee, however, that such an invention will ever make it past the design stage, with Airbus saying the patent is one of several hundred the company files each year.

A spokesperson said: "This does not mean they are necessarily going to be adopted into an aircraft design. This preserves the innovation and idea."

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A search of the European Patent Office's website returns hundreds of results with patents filed ranging from minor technical advancements to broader plans for aircraft seating arrangements.

Another patent shows that Airbus has developed an automatic head counter that relies on cameras rather than cabin crew to tot up the number of passengers on board.

"Typically several crew members count independently to increase reliability of the head count. This requires time, person and is error-prone," the patent read.

The Telegraph, London

See also: Plane passengers to sit face-to-face in economy
See also: Which in-flight noises should I really be worried about?

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