The Airbus logo is seen on the eve of the inauguration of Airbus' first US manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama, on Sept. 13, 2015.
Nicholas Kamm—AFP/Getty Images
By Nolan Feeney
October 7, 2015

How do you fit more people into an airplane without cutting into passengers’ already camped personal space? One aircraft manufacturer thinks it has the answer: seat people on top of each other.

The French-based company Airbus filed a patent in the U.S. dated Oct. 1 for a “mezzanine seating” design that will take advantage of the “substantially unused” upper areas of aircraft cabins.

“It is very important from an economic point of view to make optimum use of the available space,” the patent reads, though the company doesn’t think customers have to suffer in the process—the upper-level seating could recline 180 degrees and be “suitable” for business class, Wired reports. “It would therefore be desirable to provide a passenger seat arrangement that permits optimum use of the space in a passenger cabinet…but still provides a high level of comfort for the passengers.”

The patent is just a first step in the potential development of Airbus’ idea; it doesn’t mean that double-decker airplanes will be hitting the runways anytime soon.

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