Proposed airplane seating arrangement puts flyer face-to-face with fellow passengers

A French company is thinking about changing the way plane seats are arranged. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Airlines have been trying to squeeze every last inch of space out of a plane to maximize profits and now a French company has developed a new seating arrangement for economy class flyers that would at least give flyers a bit more space.

But, if actually installed on a plane, the arrangement could make flying even more awkward than it already is.

The new seating pattern has more in common with train seating than a traditional plane. One of the seats in a row is flipped, so the middle seat would face in the opposite direction as those beside it.

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The new patent application seeks to have at least one forward facing seat, and one rear-facing seat in each row – simultaneously, according to the patent, getting a large number of people on board while also making it slightly more comfortable.

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“It may be desirable to increase cabin density while also creating seat units that increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area by creating an overlap in the shoulder areas of adjacent seats,” according to the patent application.

Now the seating arrangement hasn’t been implemented anywhere, it’s only a patent application at this point. But a passenger’s personal space on a plane has been shifting with slightly more shoulder room, but far less leg room.

But while the shrinking seat may be profitable, it has sparked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The government body formed an advisory committee in April to hear testimony from customers and industry experts about the seats.

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