Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Would you like less legroom on your flight?

American airline passengers complain about legroom.  I mean, whenever Americans fly, they complaint about pretty much everything, but legroom is one of the biggest complaints I hear onboard aircraft.

Well, for all that you consider that 30-32" seat pitch woefully inadequate, Italian firm Aviointeriors has actually come up with something smaller.

The SkyRider seat is patterned on a saddle design.
The SkyRider seat is patterned after a horse saddle.  By having a contoured base, it can actually accommodate a... well, rider, with as little as 23" of seat pitch.  That means that in an economy cabin with 30 rows of 30" standard seating, an airline could actually fit an additional nine rows of seats by putting in SkyRider seats and squishing everything closer together.

SkyRider seats are specifically intended for shorter flights.  RyanAir enthusiasts shouldn't be surprised if these appear soon on the plane soon.

That said, there are three reasons we're unlikely to see these in America:
  1. They're not FAA-approved;
  2. The typical U.S. flight is long by the standards of most other countries; and
  3. Passengers almost certainly wouldn't tolerate them.
FAA approval might be forthcoming, of course, if there were enough testing done.  And an that third point, I admit I'm making an assumption here.  Ten years ago, I'd have assumed that Americans would never tolerate checked baggage fees or the elimination of Coach meals. 

But even if those we could clear those jumps, they'd still be of limited use in a country with such long flights.  So, you're not likely to see many SkyRiders here.

If we did, would they be comfortable?  As an Aviointeriors spokesman points out, cowboys ride in saddles for hours.

But Americans would still complain.

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