What's worse than cattle-class? Cattle-class in a honeycomb of face-to-face seats where you're knee-to-knee with a sneezing stranger's halitosis.
A French company called Zodiac has filed a patent for "Economy Class Cabin Hexagon," a face-to-face seating configuration that accomplishes a seemingly impossible task: making coach seating worse.
Making coach worse is a winning strategy for airlines. They squeeze more low-paying passengers into less space, but they also improve the case for paying for upgrades, ensuring that anyone with the power to escape coach will shell out to do so.
These seats do have some limited cases in which they'd make flying better — they allow more shoulder-space with the same seat-width, and would make flying with a spouse more intimate and pleasant. But compare this with Air New Zealand's Sky Couch, which does what it can to make coach more comfortable, not less.
Thankfully, this is just a patent application and isn't yet announced by any airline.
Now that right is at risk. Zodiac Seats France, an industry supplier, has patented a new seating configuration that rips out the (horrid) middle seat in favor of one that faces the rear. With "Economy Class Cabin Hexagon," you get more neighbors than ever before—and they are right in your face.
The goal of the design is "to increase cabin density while also creating seat units that increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area." To be fair, it seems to do that—because you're no longer facing the same direction as your immediate neighbor, you have more shoulder room. And if you're traveling with your kid or spouse, being face-to-face can be nice (we guess).
Hey Look the Most Nightmarish Idea for Plane Seating Ever [Jordan Golson/Wired]