How do I pitch an idea to a large company (an airline) and get paid for my idea?

The short version of my question: I have a great idea that I think a major US airline could benefit from. The problem that I have is simple. Ideas can be stolen before I have an opportunity to be paid for my idea. I truly believe I have a great idea, and would like to benefit from it - but I'm not sure how... show more The short version of my question: I have a great idea that I think a major US airline could benefit from. The problem that I have is simple. Ideas can be stolen before I have an opportunity to be paid for my idea. I truly believe I have a great idea, and would like to benefit from it - but I'm not sure how to proceed. Can I pitch my idea to an airline exec and be paid for my services? Is this even possible? Should I get a lawyer before I proceed? Any and all thoughts would be appreciated.

The longer version of my question:
Okay, I'm a "thinker". I like to drive around in complete silence and solve problems. As an example, when I was 13, I noticed an airplane that I was boarding had a real problem getting all of its passengers seated so I whipped out a piece of paper and started sketching ideas of how to seat passengers more efficiently. I'm not kidding you when I say this, but the sketches and notes that I made when I was 13 - are now becoming standard seating procedures for some airlines (15 years later). Is this groundbreaking news? No, but I'm hoping to demonstrate that I'm not the typical person who is oblivious to the world's business problems. Lately, I've been focusing on air travel (I'm a pilot and studying to go into Air Traffic Control). While researching a recent essay, I stumbled upon (and developed) an idea that I think a major US airliner would truly profit from. This idea then turned into 3 wonderful ideas. One of which is a brand new business (although it requires far too much capital for me to even dream about starting). How do I take what I perceive as a significant opportunity for an airliner to expand its operations - to an airline and pitch this to them for my own financial gain. Any ideas? Come on yahoo Answers! Give me some leads!
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