A company called Zodiak Seats France has applied for a patent for their “Economy Class Cabin Hexagon.” In this air-born nightmare some seats (including the already horrible middle seat) are turned backwards allowing airlines to cram even more people in (and undoubtedly creating an upcharge to sit in a seat facing in a direction that doesn’t not make you violently motion sick.) I don’t see any place for a tray either but that probably doesn’t matter since, according to their drawing, not only will you spend the flight making awkward eye contact, but you’ll also either sitting on some strangers’ hands – or having your hands sat upon by strangers. FUN!
Obviously this is just a patent and with any luck at all this will never come to be (one person having to go to the bathroom would cause practically half the plane to have to stand up, and I don’t know how they plan to deal with an emergency evacuation so it seems as though there are some un-addressed kinks.) This is one more example of people designing things that exclude fat people from the outset With this configuration, fat people could not be accommodated, even if we were willing to pay twice as much as a thin person for the same service (the service here being travel from place to place in a seat that accommodates us)
The truth about the people who are in charge of building and configuring planes is that they put them together pretending as if fat people don’t exist, and then the airlines try to make it our problem when we, very predictably, want to be able to access the same travel options as everyone else. (And that doesn’t even touch upon the ableism inherent in this seating configuration. I don’t want to speak for Disabled People/People with Disabilities but for those who use wheelchairs, those with limited mobility, those who need utilize mobility aids, oxygen and more, this seating configuration seems to me to be a complete mess.)
This same thing happens everywhere from transportation, to restaurants, to healthcare facilities. The larger someone is, the more trouble that they have simply trying to access the world in ways which those for whom the world is built may never even consider – whether they want to travel across town on a city bus, across the country on a plane, have lunch with friends, or get basic healthcare services. That’s not by accident – there are solutions that accommodate people of different sizes – it’s because much of the world is built excluding fat people from the ground up.
The issue isn’t that accommodation is so difficult, it’s that we’re not even trying. As a culture we’ve chosen to look for justifications to exclude people, rather than being committed to inclusiveness and access. It doesn’t have to – and it shouldn’t – be this way.
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