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Airbus Eyeing Bench Seats ... And No, They Don't Recline

Forget one-size fits all: Airbus has filed a patent for adjustable benches that could accommodate anything from a couple of overweight passengers to a slim family of four.

The French plane maker's patent, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, details bench-style seating with a flexible numbers of seatbelts and storable armrests that could seat up to four people and help "optimize" cabin space.

"The layout of the passenger seats arranged in the passenger cabin... should be as flexibly, rapidly and easily re-configurable as possible,"Airbus' filing, on the Patent Office's website on February 11, reads.

In a series of mock-ups Airbus shows the benches could adapt to seat either two large passengers, three average-sized adults or a family with two small children.

While social media users have speculated that this is Airbus' answer to overweight passengers, the filing suggests it would help cater to seniors, families with small children, and people with restricted mobility.

However, some passengers might be disappointed to note that the benches wouldn't recline.

Airbus' latest seating idea hasn't been as widely derided as some of its previous designs, though, including a patent published last year that seems to show stackable seats akin to bunk beds.

Other companies' space-saving mock-ups that have faced online backlash in recent months include a French industrial supplier's design for hexagonal seats that could swivel to face either direction.