Q: How Can You Cram More People Into A Commercial Flight? A: Bike Seats! (No Joke.)

It seems like a never-ending debate: How many people can airlines squeeze onto a passenger jet? Well, it looks like you can hike those numbers if you get rid of those bulky padded seats.

European airplane manufacturer Airbus has now filed a patent for bicycle-style seats to address that issue.

In last month's filing, the company explains that seats have become as narrow as possible and the space between rows also can’t be reduced anymore. The only solution left for cost-cutting airlines is to remove the bulk from the seats.

Diagrams included in the patent request show small saddle-style seats that fold up, along with a small backrest and folding armrest.

"It is possible to obtain four rows of seating places in the length in which only three rows of aircraft seats…were able to be installed," the filing concludes.

You may not see the seats on any flights soon, though. Passenger cabin configuration is an option left up to the individual airlines, and Airbus told the Los Angeles Times that the idea remains "conceptual."

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