The middle seat: It's flying equivalent of a pebble in your shoe for a hike that lasts for 1,000 years. It's the opposite of Goldilocks' the-best-way-is-the-middle-way philosophy: It offers neither the privacy (or the view) of the window seat nor the freedom of the aisle.
Molon Labe, a Colorado aviation design firm, thinks it has a solution, according to Wired: a "stagger seat" in the middle position. Push the middle seat back a few inches, and it'll make some big gains. No extra legroom, but pushing back allows designers to provide an extended armrest (virtually un-stealable by the aisle and window passengers), plus the chance for an extra-big entertainment screen: With the seat pushed back, it can extend, slightly beyond its neighbors, allowing for a couple extra inches of your choice of videos — an 18-inch screen is nothing to sneeze at.
Molon Labe (3 images)
Hank Scott, Molon Labe's CEO, is currently showing off the prototype at an aviation show in Germany. While most aeronautic innovations come into use only after many, many years of testing and refinement, Scott has a leg up on some of his competition, since the stagger seat design tracks closely with that of another Molon Labe design tackling the problem of the middle seat. Both designs could show up in planes this year or next.
[Editor's note: By the way, "Molon Labe" isn't a misspelling of "Labs." It's a Greek expression with a complicated history. Curious minds can get a primer here. ]