When you’re flying coach, you may have no elbow room, and your knees may be tightly pinned by the reclining seat in front of you, but at least there’s nobody sitting on top of you.

That may be about to change. If Airbus’ new patent progresses, you can say goodbye to all that empty space above your head. The stacked seating arrangement, called “mezzanine seating,” would have a small ladder or three steps leading up between rows, where more seats are crammed in above the main deck. The patent, which was filed October 1st, proposes that the seats on both levels can be reclined to be flat or almost flat. The design was greeted by plenty of scorn in the media, with many stories describing it as “flying bunk beds,” “horrific” and “hellish”.

In the drawings accompanying the patent application, it appears that a person seated upstairs has another person’s head just inches away, directly under his (or hers) bum. Airbus tries to describe the seating design in a positive light: “In order to still more efficiently use the space in a passenger cabin aircraft (the patent) proposes to position an elevated deck structure on a main deck floor in the passenger cabin of a wide-body aircraft for providing a mezzanine seating area in a substantially unused upper lobe of the aircraft fuselage.”

Topics: news , Airbus , plane , seating