-Martha Engel, Attorney

Many of you probably hopped aboard a plane this weekend to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, but the flight experience often feels like a Black Friday shopping experience.  Passengers get to the airport hours before takeoff, where they wait in long lines among strangers before getting crammed into a seat that they purchased on sale or at the cheapest price.  It doesn’t seem that much different than the people who camp outside a Best Buy with strangers for a TV special on Black Friday.  That we consider any of these things “normal” seems crazy.

But airplane manufacturers and airlines have tried to make the boarding experience more efficient and tried to better maximize the space within the cabin.  A physicist determined that the most efficient way to board a plane is to board alternate rows at a time, beginning with the window seats on one side, then alternate rows of middle seats, and finally  aisle seats.  But we have seen a number of patent filings from Airbus, Boeing, and others attempting to maximize cabin space and minimize boarding times.  Check these out and let us know what you think about them in the comments.

Recently Airbus was granted a patent on a removable cabin capsule (yes you read that right), where the cabin or the fuselage is essentially loaded onto a cockpit and wingframe much like a trailer on a flatbed truck.  I’d be a little concerned about this just popping off from the remainder of the plane, but maybe it would be safer to be able to eject the passenger cabin in an emergency.

airbus_concept-582x277As Jessica discussed in her post last month, Airbus also filed a crazy sort of passenger arrangement where passengers are essentially stacked on top of one another, much like your luggage.  Even in the drawing here, it looks like part of the way this works is by passengers levitating over one another.

airbus3Airbus also developed this bicycle seat sort of passenger seating arrangement, but with most flights lasting longer than my spin class, I doubt that has longevity.  Maybe it needs pedals.

imrs.phpB/E Engineering came up with an idea for some individual pods, which appear to help with some of your leg room and personal bubble issues that you’ve probably encountered on a plane.

US20130248655A1-20130926-D00000Or you could get even closer to your neighbor with this arrangement:


If you haven’t seen any good ideas from the aircraft manufacturers here, any ideas for how they can make the experience more efficient and more pleasant?  Are you going to want to board a removable cabin?