Published November 13, 2013
At least one airline has already begun selling airline seats based on weight. So why not air travel where you pay for the space rather than a seat?
British design firm Seymourpowell created an airplane seat concept called the Morph that shifts with the size of the passenger.
The design is like a bench with a single piece of fabric stretched across three seats. Another piece of fabric forms the back of the chair. To regulate the size of the seat, the fabric is clamped down by the armrests and the upper dividers to form three individual "hammock seats" based on passenger size.
When reclining, instead of moving the entire seat back to adjust the pitch of the chair, mechanized seat formers are positioned under the fabric, allowing travelers to position to the chair to suit them.
So how does this work with passengers, as opposed to the standard 18 inch chairs now? Take for example a family with a mother, father and a child. The father --who would possibly be bigger -- could take 20 inches, the mother keeps the18 inches, and the child takes 16 inches. This would give the father more space at no extra expense.
Seymourpowell even suggests that smaller passengers or children "could sell or trade their inches to larger passengers who want more space."
“A passenger’s size is only one factor; Morph takes into account how people feel along with their emotional needs,” Seymourpowell head of transport, Jeremy White said. “The young female traveling alone, a mother nursing a child, an elderly or less abled passenger, or a family traveling together, all have specific needs; some desire more privacy or security, some are more vulnerable and require greater assistance, whilst others only need entertainment.”
It's an interesting concept, especially as airlines continue to shave inches off of plane seats. But it's unlikely to go anywhere. A seat like this would have to go under extensive testing and meet restrictive safety regulations. Then there's the issue of passengers fighting over the lateral space. Passengers for now only have to bicker over the arm rest and the recline.