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Does this patented illustration show the grim future of flying economy?

No frills.

Such is the ease of travelling on the cheap these days, it’s a phrase that’s gone from largely describing supermarket-own bourbons to short haul flights to Alicante.

Now those of us who choose to holiday with budget airlines may have been given an eyeful of the future, after civil aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus submitted a patent for some seats which reconfigure based on passenger size. Aside from the pluses for plus size passengers, the designs could just as easily have a negative affect, fuelling fears that low cost airlines are looking to squeeze as many people on board as legally possible.

Take Ryan Air chief executive Michael O’Leary, who's spoken openly of his desire to add 15 rows of ‘vertical seating’ built onto planes if aviation laws were to allow - and who, let us not forget, was only stopped introducing a charge for on-board bathrooms when his plans sparked a public outcry in 2011.

But what do you think? Take a look at the new Patentscope designs below.

  • Does this patented illustration show the grim future of flying economy?

    It's basically a bench

    Notice the lack of arm rests? Dependent on passenger size, thanks to the lack of barriers the re-configurable bench is capable of accommodating two, three or four passengers.

  • Does this patented illustration show the grim future of flying economy? 1

    Pluses for plus sizers

    In this illustration, below, a pair of overweight passengers share the bench with the added bonus of retractable arm rests.

  • Does this patented illustration show the grim future of flying economy? 2

    1

    In this illustration, two normal sized adults sit comfortably with two nightmarish goblin men tucked in between. Maybe they haven't spotted them. Perhaps they have been put under a curse, lured onto the airline and headed for who knows where. Let's hope they're not real.

  • Does this patented illustration show the grim future of flying economy? 3

    The lads

    And then there's the illustration of these three men in jumpsuits, looking a bit like step one in an IKEA Instruction manual for a lad's trip to Sonar festival. Those ruddy guys!