Downtime

A Horrifying Proposal for Airplane Seating Confirms the Future of Coach Is Being Knocked Unconscious

A design for a new kind of double-decker airline seat, with a top row piled atop a bottom row of seats.
Alejandro Nuñez Vicente/Delft University of Technology

Congratulations to 22-year-old designer Alejandro Núñez Vicente, who recently introduced his nightmarish vision for the future of air travel at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

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This “chaise longue” seating is monstrous for various reasons. First of all, the farts. Airplanes are already fart tubes, but can you imagine enduring an entire flight with someone’s butt inches from your face? It’s like air travel designed by Hieronymus Bosch. Perhaps Vicente has planned for this eventuality, via odor-reducing charcoal cushions of the sort recommended recently by kindly Slate sex advice columnist Rich Juzwiak. But there’s also the difficulty of getting in and out of the lower level, the challenge of reading a book or using a laptop, and the intense claustrophobia caused by being crammed into, basically, an MRI chamber from O’Hare to Miami.

It’s possible that, like previous touted innovations such as the Motorcycle Saddle Seat and the Bifurcated Double Armrest, the Double Decker Fart Chaise will never actually make its way onto airplanes. But it’s clear that the trend in air travel, for all but the wealthiest passengers, is to cram as many of us as possible into ever-smaller square footage while reducing perks and increasing prices. So I’d like to propose a simple solution: It is time for airlines to introduce a service to knock me unconscious for the length of my flight.

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It’s simple: The instant I board a flight of a duration longer than two (2) hours, I am instantly knocked unconscious. Perhaps this is accomplished via a hospital mask and medical-grade desflurane, or a handkerchief soaked in ether, or the time-honored shovel to the head. Doesn’t matter to me! Trundle my unconscious form into a coach seat, double-deckered or not. Hang me from a hook like a slab of beef! What do I care?

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. With the introduction of Gas Class™, the airline saves on space, entertainment, and food. It just pays a little more on knockout drugs. Flight attendants can then focus their energies on serving Champagne to first-class passengers, all of them unbothered by the gently snoring cargo in the back half of the plane. In the event of a crash, I’ll avoid the whole plummeting-in-terror part. And when the plane lands, a gentle slap to either side of the cheek will awaken me, and after a short recuperative period in an airport TGI Friday’s, I’ll proceed to my destination.

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Mankind has long dreamed of instantaneous travel, the “Beam me up, Scottie” matter-transference ray that will get us coast to coast in seconds. This is the closest we’ll ever get! Like major surgery or a level-one improv comedy show, air travel is best endured while totally and completely insensate. I’m sure there are some logistical hurdles I’m not thinking of, because I’m not a professional anesthetist. But I’m certain they can be overcome. Because if Alejandro Núñez Vicente’s torture seat represents the future of aviation, I’ll happily take a cartoon hammer to the noggin to sleep through it.

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