Forget no-lean seats. Forget thinner armrests. Introducing the Economy Class Cabin Hexagon, aka "How To Rub Thighs And Make Eye Contact With Total Strangers"
This is how I always imagined the frozen prisoners in Minority Report or Demolition Man were stored. (via WIPO)
Zodiac Aerospace is one of the world's leading manufacturers of aircraft seats and other interior aerospace products, like sleeping quarters for crew and pilots on long-haul flights. Most importantly, they make seats. When they brainstorm up a new way to seat people, it can change travel fundamentally. Usually, such changes happen up in business and first class, because those folks make airlines the most money. Designing fancy new seats that turn into beds inside private cubicles allows airlines to charge a lot more. Airlines don't get more money out of economy by luring them in with fancier amenities—they do it by giving them less in the knowledge that when people have to get places, they have to use a plane. Well, get ready for the newest leap forward in getting less for your money: beehive seating.
To save space, airlines will also ask all humanoids to remove their hands. (via WIPO)
That's right, instead of merely staring ahead for hours to avoid ever looking at the stinking, noisy humans you've been seated next to, you will now be facing at least one of them at all times—two if you get stuck with the middle seat. Do not even ask about reclining. You are strapped into an upright piece of plastic and it's not going anywhere for the entire flight.
Going to the bathroom will no longer ever be possible by shimmying past your sullen neighbors. No matter how skinny you or your rowmates are, you have to ask everyone to get up. The only upside is that the seats apparently flip up like bleacher seats to give you more room when you exit. This will probably be used as an excuse to reduce the overall legroom.
No good invention is complete without a new part that can malfunction. Like a seat that won't fold into a seat, or continuously tries to fold back up your ass. (via WIPO)
If you've been flying for a while, you might remember that Southwest Airlines used to have "lounge seating" on some flights as a horrible spiritual hangover from the '70s. These weren't hexagonal seats, but rather 6 seats (two rows of three) facing each other. They were mercifully put out of their misery in 2001, because, you know, people hated them. They hated strangers looking at them, they hated touching knees, and they hated having to make chit-chat. They would try to claim the seat across from them with a bag and flight attendants reported a lot of fights breaking out. Granted, this new design avoids the problem of people facing each other directly. Instead, you have someone very close to your face but off to the side a little.
"Man, I really hope I get the one seat in the front that dangles off into nothingness." (via WIPO)
Oh, Southwest also worried it might not be safe because people would knock heads in a minor accident. Usually, airline injuries usually come in two varieties: everyone is disintegrated, or nothing. Now, you have to worry about turbulence rocking passengers together, creating a cascade of satisfying coconut sounds throughout the cabin.
In conclusion, think about where you want to be in five years. Then buy a plane ticket to that place and go there now, because in five years you might have to sit in this god-awful nightmare configuration.