The indignities of coach air travel are myriad, but throw in the 2x or 3x price increase that a family lays out for the privilege and you have a special kind of hell. After a few trips paying for a seat your toddler just assumes is your lap, or haggling with fellow passengers to get family member 4 closer to members one, 2, and 3, you might even be convinced that trip to your mother-in-law’s isn’t worth it, after all.
Fortunately, Airbus may have a solution. A recently published patent reveals a bench seat for planes that could be configured to seat between one and 4 people. And, while getting 2 parents and 2 kids into one row every time would indeed be magical, the real innovation that the patent portends would be in pricing. Once airlines could fit different numbers of people in different rows, they could move from a price-per-seat system to a price-by-space system — like air cargo companies do. If your kids are small enough to only need one quarter of the bench, you’d pay the equivalent of one seat for both of them. And, yes, this would also be a boon to guys who have let their dadbod get out of control, too, since you wouldn’t necessarily have to buy a whole second seat to get more space.
Of course, just because the patent has been published doesn’t mean the air travel system is going to instantly reconfigure itself to accommodate this potentially amazing idea. Airlines will probably roll it out around the same time they start handing out individual peanuts as snacks. Actually, that may have happened already. In the meantime, you can hold off on booking that trip to see your mother-in-law for a little while longer.
[H/T] Business Insider