Skip to main content

Airbus files patent for saddle seats on planes

By Frances Cha, CNN
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
Airbus's patented saddle seats: No word yet on whether the in-flight menu will feature sardines.
Airbus's patented saddle seats: No word yet on whether the in-flight menu will feature sardines.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Airbus publishes patent for folding saddle seats with low backrests
  • Vertical seat design packs more passengers into cabins
  • Spokesperson says patent application does not mean design will be developed

(CNN) -- For air travelers who like to gripe about being cramped in economy, here comes another warning that they've never had it so good.

Airbus has filed a patent application showing detailed renderings of what may be the plane seat of the future.

The design shows narrow rows of folding saddle seats with low backrests on which passengers perch rather than recline.

The patent application, which makes even the most budget of budget airline seating look luxurious, was published last month and is available for viewing by the public.

Are you a window flier or aisle seater?

The Skyrider is another saddle seat design that was unveiled in 2010.
The Skyrider is another saddle seat design that was unveiled in 2010.

As CNN reported last week, a new study says the vertical passenger seat may be the next big cost-cutting move in aviation.

Upright seat designs would allow airlines to pack more passengers into a cabin and provide an affordable alternative to public transportation on short haul flights.

The patent says current seating configurations have reached their passenger limit but numbers can be increased by switching to saddle-style designs (presumably stowing travelers in the overhead compartments has been ruled out).

It says the saddle format will accommodate four seats into a space previously occupied by three.

The Airbus design is somewhat similar to the SkyRider, a perching saddle for planes developed by Italian firm Aviointeriors and unveiled at an expo in 2010.

READ: World's most luxurious passenger jets revealed

If Airbus is looking for positive feedback for its design, it may struggle.

The UK's Daily Telegraph likened the patent to "the inside of a galley," under the headline "The world's most uncomfortable plane seat?"

An Airbus spokesperson told CNN that the patent didn't necessarily mean it would be saddling up its aircraft anytime soon.

Straight from the Airbus drawing board.
Straight from the Airbus drawing board.

"Airbus files hundreds of patents each year -- this is what innovative companies do," Airbus UK head of media relations Robert Gage said via email.

"Many patents never become reality and there is no expectation that this would. It is really to preserve an idea and has not developed beyond this stage."

Gage said that even if the designs were to be developed, it would be up to airlines would choose the seating configurations and type.

MORE: See-through cabins and passenger pods: Is this the future of flight?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Berlin's Tegel airport
It's crowded and outdated, but Berlin's hexagon-shaped Tegel air hub has won a place in the city's heart.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Good news for air travelers passing through Manila: the city's international airport isn't quite as bad as it used to be.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
The Mitsubishi Regional Jet, aka the MRJ, is Japan's first new commercial jet in over 50 years
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
Air racing is just as fast as NASCAR, IndyCars and Formula One. But the added vertical dimension seriously amps the action up.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Thomson Airways' face-to-face seating plans could help parents or deprive them of movie-watching marathons.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
When it comes to air travel, courtesy and common sense are often the first two things to fly out the departure gates.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 0839 GMT (1639 HKT)
Around a dozen of the iconic B-17 bombers are still able to fly. But how comfortable is a flight in the 70-year-old plane?
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
From a three-room apartment to a Michelin-starred meal, many airlines are offering services you won't even get in some top hotels.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1446 GMT (2246 HKT)
Details from an Airbus patent illustrating a virtual reality headset for air passengers.
Airbus patent proposes using special headsets to control in-flight sights, sounds and smells.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
Bear on the tail and heart on the underside -- it's been a big week for makeovers in the world of aviation.
ADVERTISEMENT