My latest travel piece for BuzzFeed News is a brief, somewhat sarcastic look at a new Airbus patent for airplane seats. Because it’s still in the patent stage the seats haven’t been built yet, but here’s what Airbus imagines them looking like:

Screenshot 2015-10-08 18.34.14

The idea is that they will use the supposedly wasted space in the air above the normal seats. Here’s a more detailed view:

Screenshot 2015-10-08 18.30.25

And here’s how they will fold down to offer reclining positions:

Screenshot 2015-10-08 18.31.16

The reaction to these seats has been universally negative. And indeed it does look like a nightmare.

But I will say this: When I tested out JetBlue’s Mint first class I noticed that in the reclined position the seat lowered significantly, to the point that I felt like I was lying way down by the floor. This wasn’t a problem — I was quite comfortable — but I did notice it.

Which makes me wonder if maybe this configuration might work. I mean, I would prefer not to have someone smashed into my face, but if I could lay all the way down maybe this wouldn’t be so bad?

Screenshot 2015-10-08 19.07.33

I don’t know. This configuration does look very cramped, and in any case it’s only a patent and may never actually be built. In any case, here’s the link to my BuzzFeed News post again.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


  1. At first glance, it looks like people are laying down under other passengers’ butts. But then you look closer, and it doesn’t look too bad. But having a person above me — or the ceiling of the airplane that close to my head — would feel too claustrophobic.

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