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New patent application makes more aisle seats in flights possible

July 12, 2021
Pexels/Sourav Mishra

A U.S. patent application suggests a radical new seating arrangement for business class flights, maximizing passenger density and comfort at the same time. The designs are from Adient Aerospace – a joint venture between Adient, automotive seating manufacturers, and Boeing.

Despite accounting for only 12% of airlines’ passenger count, business travelers can generate as much as 75% of a flight’s profit. It would therefore be in the interest of aviation companies to maximize their aircrafts’ business class capacity, but without sacrificing the distinct benefits of the pricier travel option.

Figure 4A in the patent application shows top views of the proposed seating arrangements for a vehicle cabin.
Figure 4A in the patent application shows top views of the proposed seating arrangements for a vehicle cabin.

The proposed seating arrangement grants every traveler direct aisle access, while still fitting a high number of them into the plane cabin. The novel seating design combines angled and forward-facing seats, employing elements from common in-line and herringbone seating layouts.

The inventors say that the angled seating allows for a substantially narrow total column width, maximizing space. Their approach also enables the installation of a comparatively high number of non-aisle seats, in particular window seats.

Though seats are installed at different angles, Adient clarifies all of them will have the same features. Every so-called privacy area will come with two lateral armrests, a partition wall, and a foot support structure. Depending on its column, a seat will also feature either a side utility element or a divider screen. The side utility element may serve as additional storage space for passengers’ belongings.

Adient says the forward-facing seats in its proposed layout may be offered to passengers with disabilities. The seats and their respective privacy areas may be further configured to comply with DOT regulations. Possible modifications include the installation of assistive devices, movable aisle armrests, or adjoining seats for personal care attendants.

The patent application states the designs it features are merely illustrative and should not be seen as limiting, meaning Adient may still implement changes to its seating approach.

The featured patent application, “Seating Arrangements,” was filed with the USPTO on December 18, 2020 and published thereafter on June 24, 2021. The listed applicant is Adient Aerospace, LLC. The listed inventors are Sahng Seok Lee and Zhao Jin.


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