The middle seat on a plane comes with the uncomfortable prospect of being tucked up in close proximity to two strangers for several hours - as well as a battle over who gets the armrests.

However, that could all now change with a clever new design for short-haul flights that features staggered seating.

In the proposed layout, the middle seat is positioned further back than the aisle and window seats, as well as being lower.

The seat designed by Molon Labe is also four inches wider than the average short-haul flight seat at 21inches, the Times reported.

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Meanwhile, the aisle seat - which is still an inch wider than the average seat at 18inches - can be slid across the middle seat in order to make the aisle wider for boarding.

Hank Scott, founder and CEO of Denver-based Molon Labe, told the newspaper: "The shoulders of the centre-seat bloke are a good two inches behind the others.

"As humans are usually widest at the shoulders, this is a tremendous effect."

He said the seats have already undergone in-house testing and are now awaiting certification from aviation authorities.

It comes as Boeing and Airbus revealed that they have designed two wide-body airplanes that could stop jet lag symptoms.

Since jet lag symptoms set in around 6500 ft in the air, the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 are designed with plastics in the airframe, allowing the cabin to stay pressurised at 6000 feet - no matter how high the plane flies.