The seating plan proposes that plane passengers sit facing each other during flights.

Airline industry supplier Zodiac Seats France filed a patent for the design last December, which aims to make better use of the available floor space in a cabin, as well as lending passengers more arm and shoulder room, writes Soo Kim for The Daily Telegraph.

zodiac seating plan

Zodiac proposes a more intimate seating plan

Many travelers complain about the paucity of legroom in economy class, but Zodiac claims that their new seating plan will “increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area,” as well as allowing airlines to fit a greater number of passengers on an individual plane.

Although the seating plan would eliminate the battle for use of the armrests, it would also mean that passengers are forced to entertain the greater possibility of making eye contact with fellow passengers. Some people may be uncomfortable eating or sleeping with other people looking at them.

Zodiac says that the seats would feature televisions and foldable tray tables, and would leave ample aisle space. Attempts to use cabin space more efficiently have spawned a number of unconventional seating plans of late.

Industry searching for ways to improve use of space

Airbus revealed a revolutionary design for a circular cabin last year, proposing that economy class passengers sit in an outer ring, while those flying business sit in an inner ring. The company claims the design is a more “simple, economic and efficient solution” than cylindrical aircraft, in which cabin pressure is regulated by heavy “sealed bottoms.”

The company also revealed a new kind of seat, which looks more like a saddle. It has smaller armrests, no headrest nor cushions, and will allow more passengers to fit into a lighter aircraft. “In all cases, this increase in the number of seats is achieved to the detriment of the comfort of the passengers,” the patent read. “However, this remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours.”

Airbus has also submitted proposals which would see 11 seats across the width of the A380 plane, meaning that airlines could squeeze in 35-40 more passengers. However the middle passenger would be seated with two others on either side, which may not be such an inviting prospect.