French aircraft manufacturer Airbus has submitted a patent for new plane seating, which is receiving media attention for its uncomfortable-looking, bicycle-like design.
The LA Times reports that the patent submitted in Europe would allow more passengers to be fit in the same amount of space at the expense of comfort.
The designs have been variously described as “barbarically sparse” (by Business Insider), like “an ancient Greek galley” when viewed from afar (Washington Post) and even, tongue-in-cheek, like “a device straight from a torture chamber” (Betabeat)
The new-look seat designs feature minimal backrest and legroom, and are self-folding when not in use.
Airbus has predicted that reduced comfort might be considered by passengers on short flights, and also said that the patent application does not guarantee the seats will find their way onto the company’s aircraft.
The patent was simply “in case the future of commercial aviation makes one of our patents relevant, our work is protected,” a spokeswoman told the LA Times.