- Airbus has filed a patent for a "reconfigurable passenger bench seat"
- Adjustable, detachable seat belts can accommodate passengers of all sizes
- The debate about how to cope with obese travelers has become heated in recent years
Airbus might have a solution: replace individual seats with rows of benches.
The aircraft manufacturer -- which in 2013 spearheaded a campaign
to make 18-inches the industry standard for seat width -- has filed a patent
for a "reconfigurable passenger bench seat," which could accommodate not only larger passengers, but small children as well.
Adjustable, detachable seat belts would ensure that all passengers are locked in, regardless of size.
The patent, which was published last month, comes out at a time when the debate about how to deal with obese travelers has become particularly heated.
In the last few years, obese passengers have been denied boarding
, shamed in online forums
and named as the cause in an Etihad lawsuit
(a passenger sued for being forced to sit next to a "grossly overweight" passenger).
In 2013, Samoa Air started charging passengers by weight
, and introduced an XL class
for larger passengers. Last year Uzbekistan Airways decided to weigh passengers "for safety."