Airlines have a problem: They want to put even more people on planes, but there's a limit to just how small a row of seats can be.
As aircraft manufacturers work to push that limit, a patent application from supplier Zodiac Seats France reveals a new design that may go too far.
The "Hexagon" design would have seats that face both forward and backward. Not only would the middle seat wedge you between two strangers, it would also make it so that you might even have to make eye contact with them at various times during the flight.
The seat design aims "to increase cabin density while also creating seat units that increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area," according to the patent application
"There is a desire to increase the number of seats within a given space to optimize the number of passengers being transported at any given time," it continues. "By increasing the number of seats in the space, the amount of space available for each passenger is diminished."
Luckily for passengers, a patent does not necessarily translate to real life. Airbus said its patent for standing seats, for example, is just a concept.
But airlines are interested in fitting more passengers on each plane. That's why Airbus revealed a configuration with 11 seats per row for long-haul flights earlier this year. If airlines want them, aircraft manufacturers will figure out how to provide even more seats.