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airbus bicycle seatHere’s another cringe-worthy tale to file in your “what the … ?” folder: the Los Angeles Times reports that Airbus filed a patent last year for fold-down bicycle seats (similar to theater or stadium seats but shaped like those you’d find on a bicycle), which would prop passengers in a near-upright position, thereby increasing plane capacity.

The worst part is that they wouldn’t have the comforts of even the most standard airplane seats on other aircraft. The lack of tray tables means passengers would have one less thing to worry about during takeoff and landing, but what sort of safety issues would be created by the absence of proper backrests and headrests in the event of an emergency — or something as minor as turbulence?

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Diagrams show that the seats would be suspended on what appear to be large poles, placed horizontally in each row. That raises the question of where, exactly, fliers would store carry-on items that usually go underneath the seats in front of them. Although passenger capacity would increase with the use of these seats, it’s unlikely overhead bin space would do the same, thereby compounding the problem.

Airbus argues that passengers would be willing to endure the seats for several hours in exchange for cheap airfare costs, created by airlines’ ability to squeeze more passengers onto their planes. If the seats were, say, $20, perhaps we’d bite (depending on the length of the flight, of course), but it seems unlikely that adding a few additional paying customers to the mix would lower costs that significantly.

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The Los Angeles Times quotes an Airbus spokeswoman who says that “many, if not most, of these concepts will never be developed.” Here’s hoping this design stays in the realm of the imaginary.

Would you pay to sit on a bicycle seat for the duration of a flight? Leave your comments below.

— written by Ashley Kosciolek

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4 Responses to “The Future of Flying: Airbus to Airbicycle?”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Crazy, but what if there was a section of a few bicycle seats which actually pedaled available on long flights? You could go hop on one and pedal for a while to relieve sore legs, DVT, etc. On a more than 3 hour flight, I would love a time to move my legs vigorously.

  2. Host Ciao says:

    I haven’t heard anything this uncomfortable in ages. (Maybe some pedaling would work if they had the nice wide exercise bike seats with backs as there are in my “seniors” exercise class.)
    I could survive face-to-face seats if there were the same amount of space as in some rail cars I’ve ridden in while in Europe–fat chance of that with airlines!
    A presto,
    Host Ciao

  3. Suzanne says:

    Absolutely and unequivocally NO! Even if seats only cost $10. Travel is getting more and more cramped and even us shorties need space to stretch our legs!

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