Airbus submits new seating plan to accommodate more passengers

A new seating plan by Airbus could help carriers cope with the growing number of obese passengers. The airline has submitted the plan to the US Patent office for a patent.

The patent application for a ''Re-Configurable Passenger Bench Seat'' outlines how planes could accommodate people of all shapes and sizes with adjustable chairs and seat-belts.

Airlines are currently looking at ways to deal with the obesity crisis, with a number of smaller airlines charging passengers by their weight and others adding larger seats.

Drawings submitted with the application show that the 'bench seat' could comfortably fit two ''overweight passengers'' with an armrest between them or be assigned to leaner passengers or even a whole family with mum, dad and two kids filling the seats.

The plan could also help carriers deal with an increasing number of larger passengers and reduce prices for families who have to pay the full price seat  once kids are over two-years-old.

In the patent application, Airbus, says: ''In modern means of transport, particularly in aircraft, optimum utilization of the space available in a passenger cabin is of major economic importance.

Essentially, the plan visualizes a fastening rail to attach seat belts where required so that it can be ''adapted to the requirements of the operator'' and ''to the requirements of specific groups.'' This includes senior citizens and overweight passengers, and also meant the seating could squeeze some people of slender build if required.

However, some commentators, point out that there could be some problems. From the application's diagrams, it appeared that arm rests might be less adaptable than seat belts, and some configurations would leave passengers with little space to rest their elbows. They also say the shape of an individual chair - however hard - offered more comfort than a single continuous stretch of seating.