There is a theory about flying economy class that suggests airlines deliberately make it such a horrible experience that next time a passenger books a flight they will pay to be upgraded to business class, or at least economy plus.

That theory has become even more plausible with news that some airlines are looking into a new economy seating configuration called “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon.” Travel and design experts are calling the configuration a “truly nightmarish idea” that falls between something “between Saw and The Twilight Zone”.

The idea is the brainchild of French manufacturer Zodiac Seats and involves ripping out the already much dreaded and to be avoided middle seat in economy class seating rows, and turning it 180 degrees so that it virtually faces backwards.

The idea is to create maximum space which obviously means airlines can introduce more seats in cabins that already resemble sardine packed jars, or those packed hen houses which animal rights activists love to point to, but Zodiac obviously thinks their “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon” is a great idea. The company has patented the configuration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In the patent application documents, Zodiac explained the seating configuration would “increase cabin density while also creating seat units that increase the space available at the shoulder and arm area.”.

Critics of the move although agreeing more shoulder space was a possibility, said that in reality there were many more cons than pros.

These included more created space allowing airlines to increase the number of seats, the joy of the distraction from looking at the “in-flight entertainment screen being supplemented with persistent eye contact from your neighbors” , more unavoidable hand and knee contact, more possibility of your neighbor “accidently” groping your thigh, and the big one – having your crotch in and at your neighbor’s face and eye level when you stood up to go to the bathroom.

There have been other cooky suggestions made to increase on-board space – standing only short haul flights, introduction of virtual reality helmets for privacy – but thankfully these have remained just suggestions which is what critics of “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon” hope is its future.

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