The word "bench" has all sorts of interesting connotations, from being taken out of the action while playing sports to standing trial in front of a judge. So maybe that term isn't the best way to describe what could be an interesting solution to the problem of wrong-sized airplane seats.
Airbus, the same folks who brought us the stacked seats concept, recently filed a patent for reconfigurable passenger seats, which could accommodate a different number of passengers, depending on how you arrange it. It seems like a better way of admittedly portly types flying more comfortably, ideally sans the body shaming.
But it wouldn't necessarily just be for isolating bigger passengers. It makes sense for families. Or as in the case above, if two awkward dwarves happened to sit between an East German female shot putter and a power forward from the Serbian men's basketball team.
At the end of the day, this configurability sounds good. But if planes only have one or two of these special set-ups (we recommend "Flex Seats"), that seems like it'd call the same attention to folks wanting/requiring more space. And how would they charge? That's the whole issue in the first place, not having to necessarily buy a way pricier ticket just because of their size.
Oh well, we'll see how it plays out. At least those Airbus folks are thinking.