French airline chair manufacturer Zodiac Seats has come up with a seating design that it believes will help its customers get more economy passengers onto its flights.

Called the "economy class cabin hexagon" collection, or "Project HD31", the new seating plan faces the middle seat of a row of three backwards, so passengers look at each other while flying. This optimises space on single aisle airplanes and therefore increases the number of available seats.

The seats themselves fold up, like in a cinema or theatre, so passengers can get past.

Of course, how passengers might feel about this is not entirely clear. Leg room doesn't seem to be compromised, but the new designs do not come with a fold-down table, just a cup holder. But as the seats are only proposed for short-haul flights, that would be all that is needed more often than not.

As well as the cup holder, there will be a dedicated tablet holder that will house a passenger's device and therefore double as a seat back screen.

It certainly all seems practical although do you really fancy staring at someone you don't know for an hour or two when flying? Zodiac Seats seems to think the answer will be "yes".