What Kind of Monster Would Design Airplane Seats Like This?

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization

Prepare yourself, air travelers: The Human Centipede of plane seats is here.

Zodiac Seats France, one of the largest airline seat suppliers in the industry, recently submitted a patent application for a seating arrangement called the "Economy Class Cabin Hexagon."

It's the most horrifying concept you're likely to come across today. Essentially, it takes the middle seat — the undoubted winner of the worst-seat-on-the-plane lottery — and reverses it, so it faces the seats on its left and right.

Take a look at the future of air travel:

"The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned." — William Butler Yeats
Source: 
World Intellectual Property Organization

According to the patent, the design is intended to — what else? — "increase cabin density" within the aircraft. Personal space is a concept foreign to an aircraft industry obsessed with stacking as many people as possible inside a flight.

There aren't many joys to be found in flying, but one of its saving graces is the lack of eye contact that occurs between passengers. Put your seat back, put your headphones in, down a cocktail or two and tune out everyone around you. 

Not so on the Hexagonal Plane Seat From Hell. This concept has you staring down your seatmates. Think of how terrible it is when someone irritating is sitting next to you. Now imagine making glancing eye contact with them for your entire trip. Pass the Xanax.

Get friendly with your neighbors: Eye contact isn't the only problem with Zodiac Seats France's diabolical plan, however. We whipped up this helpful diagram to show the worst thing about the concept:

As the above diagram — which we've colorized to make the atrocities contained within as clear as possible — shows, the armrest situation is so dire, passengers appear to be sitting on the hands of their neighbors. If the two faceless diagram mannequins can't even avoid hand-to-hand contact, what does that mean for the rest of us?

The patent explains the armrests will be "angled," adding: "To further enhance the personal space of each passenger, the adjacent seats may share opposing portions of an armrest ... with the angled configuration, there is less likelihood that the arms of passengers seated in the adjacent seats will contact or interfere with each other." 

Here's a thought: Nope.

And what about bathroom breaks? Getting out of these "seats" looks like quite the challenge. 

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?" — William Butler Yeats
Source: 
World Intellectual Property Organization

"Take this time to picture yourself in this situation," the Verge warns. "Now picture yourself having to get up and go to the bathroom in this Brave New Setup. Now imagine turbulence." Nightmares.

There is a light at the end of this awful tunnel, however. Zodiac Seats France has applied for a patent — but there's no indication as of yet when or if the plan will come to fruition. As Wired notes, "If it does, it would have to pass a battery of tests, including passengers' ability to quickly evacuate, and the seats' capacity to withstand 16g forces in the event of a crash." Good luck with that.

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Sophie Kleeman

Sophie is a staff writer at Mic covering the intersection of tech and culture. She's based in New York and can be reached at sophie@mic.com.

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