The trend for coach seats in the airline industry has been to squeeze leg and hip space to pack as numerous paying passengers as possible into each and every cabin.

But now a division of the European airline manufacturer Airbus has applied for a patent for a seat design and style that can offer added space for overweight fliers.

Airbus is suggesting that airlines use a bench seat, the variety of seats you would find in the cars in the 1950s and ’60s before they have been replaced by bucket seats.

In a bench seat, all the passengers share the same extended seat cushion and backrest. According to the Airbus patent application, the benefit of a bench seat is that the seat belt can be moved sideways along the length of the seat to match amongst two and 4 passengers.

The disadvantage is that the seat back can’t recline, and in the configuration for four passengers, the two fliers in the middle do not get an armrest.

In a statement, Airbus stated it files hundreds of patent applications each year, adding, “The vast majority of things and processes patented never ever turn out to be completely realized technologies or products.”