Is This the Worst Way to Cram People Onto an Airplane?

Airlines are always trying to find new ways to fit more passengers into airplanes. How would you do it?

Since airfare is the primary source of income for airlines, they're always looking for ways to cram more and more people onto each flight. To that end, Airbus, a manufacturer of flying machines, has registered a patent for a unique solution to this problem (as if we needed more reasons to sigh deeply at the thought of air travel).

Airbus Bicycle Seats

By swapping out the already super-comfortable seats with bicycle seats, they found they could fit four rows of seats in the same space that used to only fit three. That's a one-third increase in capacity and a one-third increase in ticket revenue. (And one-third more pairs of headphones they can sell.)

As we all know from the cramped seats planes are currently equipped with, your comfort is a small price for you to pay for an airline to make some more money. (After all, the shrinking seat airplane seat size has already been well documented.) Why not offer less seat padding for your bottom, if it pads the bottom line?

Most of us find a bike seat an uncomfortable perch during the 20 minutes we're on it at the gym, so we can't imagine the cramping pain this might cause on a longer flight. However, to be fair, Airbus has said that this is only a "possibility" and a patent filed to prevent someone else from filing one and beating them to the punch. So they're not really intending that these seats be offered... yet.

RyanAir Standing Seats

Think this is ridiculous? Let us remind you that several years ago cut-any-and-all-corners airline, RyanAir, floated the idea of "standing seats" — essentially angled boards that a passenger could lean against, for their entire flight. Bonus: They didn't include seatbelts, either, because when something as unsafe as standing for an entire flight is on the table, why even give the perception of safety? If this trend continues, we soon expect to see airlines selling the seat in the bathroom, too.

What do you guys think? How would you cram more people onto an airplane? Tell us in the comments, below!

Jeff Somogyi
Contributing Writer

Jeff Somogyi is constantly trying to come up with ways to surprise and delight audiences the world over. He takes humor seriously ... too seriously. (Honestly, we've never seen him laugh ... it's kinda creepy.)
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Baby Huey
It's always encouraging to see innovation. I just returned on a United flight from Hawaii to New York, and it was most uncomfortable. I am not tall, but when the inconsiderate person in the seat in front of me reclined his seat fully, my knees were pressed and his ugly head was just about in my lap, just where my book or laptop or beverage should be. It's cruel enough to squeeze seats so close for so long, but to pretend that reclining in them is still an option is insulting. It creates a sort of psychological torture by condoning intrusion into other people's life space. When I asked him to please put his seat back upright, he replied "They are meant to recline." I felt a duty to smack him in the head, but not so smart on a plane. From now on, I will try to patronize those airlines who respect the dignity of their passengers with a minimal comfort level in seat spacing. Or, I will succumb to the airlines' goals of getting us to cough up additional money for more comfortable spacing.
If they want us to sit on bicycle seats for the duration of a flight, then they should also put treadmills in their airplanes so passengers can walk off the pain of sitting in their seats for hours.
I can't see ever flying this way. Even on a short flight. I also can't see the FAA permitting any planes without seatbelts. FAA regulations require that a plane be evacuated in a minimum amount of time. With those seats that will no longer be possible. The only way to allow something like this would be to change the safety regulations.