Any air traveler knows there's always room for improvement in the friendly skies, and while we're all for forward-thinking innovations, these recent seat ideas might be better left at the patent office. 

1. STACKED SEATING

Earlier this month, Airbus filed a patent for a style of airplane seating best described as stackable—though they also like to (euphemistically) call it “mezzanine seating.” The reaction was, well, not great. In the patent filing, Airbus said it’s “important from an economic point of view to make optimum use of the available space in a passenger cabin.” We say we hope it never happens. The company files about 600 patents a year—so thankfully, it probably won't. 

2. “GLORIFIED BIKE SEATS”

Airbus is a repeat offender in the arena of strange seat patents. This one has only a small seat and backrest, and narrow armrests—basically creating more room in the cabin for more passengers by scaling down the size of the seats. Fast Company gets the credit for the apt dubbing.

3. THE HEXAGONAL GRID


Here’s another one that did not thrill the frequent-flying masses. Zodiac Seats France recently patented a setup called “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon” which flips the middle seat to face backward.

4. THE FORWARD-LEANING SLEEPER

For most, falling asleep on a plane ranges from tough to impossible, but Boeing might have a way to fix that. They patented an “upright sleep support system” that looks sort of like a massage chair. It’s supposedly a more natural approach than the airplane neck pillow, though it does seem susceptible to public drooling issues.  

5. “FLYING DOUGHNUTS”

Airbus does more than dream big about seating—they’ve also patented ideas on how to transform the airplane itself. What The Financial Times called a “flying doughnut” is actually an aircraft with amphitheater-style seating as part of a design to help distribute cabin pressure in a more efficient way.