Standing Room Only?
Better start saving up your frequent flier miles because in the not-too-distant future, you may really need them. It is possible that air travel will no longer be an issue of first class versus coach and how much leg room you'll have, but whether you'll have leg room at all.
Some airlines are toying with the idea of eliminating seats from their economy classes and having the section be standing only. Instead of seats, there will be padded boards for patrons to lean against during takeoff and landing, as FAA regulations only require passengers to be "secure," not seated. Airbus, which is the airplane manufacturer heading this movement, has been pitching the idea to several carriers, mostly those in Asia that they perceive as more likely to accept the sardine-like travel arrangements than Americans. The capacity for a flight on an A380 is 500 passengers, but the standing configuration would boost that number to 853. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines reported hearing of the plans from Airbus, but said they had "no interest in increasing seat capacity to [that] level."
There is little doubt that first class seats would be unaffected by a move towards this configurations, perhaps even increasing in size, as airlines add chairs than recline into beds and a wider than ever before.