The New “Being John Malkovich” Airbus Seating Configuration Could Put Passengers Above Your Head

Via ACMM at Inside Flyer, Airbus has filed a patent for a new configuration of double decker seating on a single deck of an aircraft.

The Airbus patent filed October 1 explains that “it is very important from an economic point of view to make optimum use of the available space in a passenger cabin” — so they have thought through a way to stack passengers on top of each other.

It’s important to understand that:

  • There is no real plane that has this.
  • Most ideas don’t ever get manufactured.
  • No airline has ordered this.
  • It isn’t certified for safety by any country.

In other words, do not worry about it. If it were to ever come to pass it would be in an aircraft unlike anything operating today. They’re not going to outfit an Airbus A319 with it.

Really this idea isn’t new at all. At a minimum, it dates to 1999, so I’m not even sure it ought to be patentable.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. it’s actually a publication date – patent applications typically publish 18 months after the initial filing date

  2. Amtrak used to have sleeper compartments called slumbercoaches that were similar, ran between NYC and Chicago

  3. Honestly, for ultra-long haul travel this would be preferable to the current configurations. I would choose this setup over 10 or 11 across coach seating pretty much any day. Not that I have to worry about flying coach anymore, thanks to the travel hacking game. But still, the prospect of being able to sleep laying down on a flight is currently a luxury only available to business and first passengers.

  4. As an update, this patent was issued on January 16, 2018 as patent # 9,868,531. The patent is set to expire November 2035, assuming Airbus keeps it in force by paying the periodic maintenance fees.

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