Speed Reads

The future is arriving

Airline cabins could get even more cramped


If the airlines have their way, the cabins of today will seem roomy compared to what is ahead.

The Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, this month featured dozens of exhibitors showcasing ways to squeeze in extra seats, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some of the concepts include seats that have passengers sitting face to face, lavatories that are designed in a way that allows for extra passengers in the back of the cabin, and seats that are installed staggered in a diagonal layout.

"There is no question that densification — adding more seats to each aircraft — is an ongoing trend, and there is no sign of it letting up any time soon," says Seth Kaplan, managing partner at Airline Weekly.

One French company, Zodiac Airspace, has a new concept for short-haul flights: a row of three seats with one passenger facing forward, the next backward, and the third forward. The seat bottoms flip up so passengers can get in and out of the rows quickly, but there are two huge cons: no armrests and the seat cushions are very thin. Despite these drawbacks, the airlines were "very interested," according to Zodiac executive vice president Pierre-Antony Vastra. Better enjoy the barely padded seats we have now while you still can.