Do you remember fighting with your siblings for the top bunk? Well, be ready to relive your childhood — at 35,000 feet. Airplane manufacturer Airbus has filed a patent for two-story seating in its wide-body aircraft. This should come as little surprise from the company that introduced the world’s first full double-decker jetliner, the A380, which also happens to be the largest passenger airliner.
The patent, entitled “Passenger Arrangement for Vehicles,” shows a mezzanine level of seats reachable by steps. Second-story passengers sit right above those on the floor below. An excerpt from the document reads “In modern means of transport, in particular in aircraft, it is very important from an economic point of view to make optimum use of available space in a passenger cabin.” As airlines reach the limit of how many paying customers they can cram into a fuselage, you have to give Airbus credit for coming up with a way to pack in more.
Seating will be tighter than ever, but adjustable height on both levels creates some space. With both seats are fully reclined into flat beds, there should be more breathing room.
There are limitations to this design that make it unlikely to see development. Elderly or disabled passengers, pregnant women, and small children would have to be taken into account. This could only lead to additional delays in reservations and boarding procedures. Additionally, the FAA requires manufacturers to demonstrate that an airliner can be evacuated in 90 seconds. How would that be possible in the two-tiered arrangement? Passengers on the top floor would be jumping on the backs of their downstairs neighbors.
Simply filing for a patent does not mean the idea will see the light of day. Airbus is planning for what may come down the line, when a similar configuration might be feasible. This is just one of several hundred patents that the company files each year, as told to The Telegraph.