World’s Most Cramped Airline Seat to Launch Next Week

The SkyRider is a saddle-style airplane seat which will allow airlines to squeeze even more passengers into already cramped cabins. The poor passenger will perch atop a sculpted squab that has more in common with a horse-saddle than a comfy chair. [via]

The new seats are due to be launched next week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference in Long Beach, by manufacturer Aviointeriors. They’re intended to introduce a new cabin-class, below economy. It should probably be called cattle-class.

As you can see, part of the passenger’s weight is taken on their legs, and the legs are tucked under the seat in front. Just how close are the seats? Aviointeriors says that the seat-pitch is just 23-inches. Seat-pitch is the distance between the same point on two seats, and the smallest seat-pitch on economy-class flights is around 31-inches. Even low-cost carrier Southwest has a pitch of 32-33 inches on its planes.

No airlines have yet committed to using the SkyRider, but it can’t be long before companies like Europe’s Ryanair, notorious for wanting to charge passengers to use the toilet, puts these things into their planes. But would this be so bad?

I’m almost 6 feet 3 inches tall, and I have a hell of a time flying. I recently got stuck in front of the exit row. My seat wouldn’t recline, but the one in front certainly did, and I had nowhere to put my knees. The SkyRider seat, by contrast, would make space for my long legs by raising the seats higher. It would also eliminate the pressure that the seat edge puts on my thighs, because the seat-squab is contoured and slopes down.

On a long-haul flight, the lack of alternative positions would probably make your legs drop-off, but on short-haul, the SkyRider could actually be more comfortable, with the bonus of no idiots being able to recline their seats.

What do you think? Is it one step closer to just drugging us and piling us onto shelves like suitcases, or a legitimate next step for cheap air travel?


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