Worst Airline Seats Ever?

You think sitting in coach is setting you up for a deep vein thrombosis?

Prepare yourselves.

Source: aviointeriors.it

An Italian company called Aviointeriors, which manufactures commercial airline seats, is debuting the SkyRider, a seat with "a 23-inch pitch or less".

That means there's 23 inches from your seatback to the one in front of you—at least eight inches shorter than most conventional economy class seats.

"The SkyRider has been designed and engineered to offer the possibility to even further reduce ticket prices while still maintaining sound profitability," says the company. "With a much reduced seat pitch, the SkyRider preserves a comfortable position for the low fare passengers." They're assuming there's any comfort currently worth preserving. But the company believes it can at least maintain the current level of discomfort with a special saddle seat (plus room for personal baggage!). "The passenger's seating position is similar to that of a touring motor-scooter ride."

The seats will be unveiled this week in Long Beach, California at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas.

Aviointeriors says it's completing testing of the chairs, and once a carrier expresses interest, the company will apply for certification in the U.S. and Europe.

According to USA Today, the company says some airlines, including those in the U.S., have wanted more information. After all, the SkyRider lets carriers squeeze in more seats and avoid the regulatory problems that go with trying to pack in more people by letting them stand during flights (see RyanAir). "We feel extremely confident that this concept will ... have great appeal to airlines for economic purposes," Aviointeriors' Dominique Menoud told the paper.

If SkyRiders are incorporated into an aircraft, in an area of seating cheaper than coach, will businesses start making employees fly there? "One turbulent flight and we're all asking for ice packs..." is the reaction of Chris Morran at The Consumerist.

But looks may be deceiving.

Charlie Sorrel at Wired writes, "I'm almost six-three, 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." Sorrel adds that the seats might be ok on shorter flights,"with the bonus of no idiots being able to recline their seats."

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