Standing Seats

Unveiled at the Paris Air Show this week, the SkyRider 3.0 seat is the latest creation from German Aviointeriors. This is the third design for the SkyRider seats, with neither of the first two iterations ever making it into an aircraft. These airline seats manage to reduce the space each seat takes up, from an average 31 inches for an economy seat, down to just 23 inches. How on earth do they do this? Well, the design of the seats is more akin to a bicycle saddle than an actual seat. In essence, the passengers will be standing, for the duration of the flight, with just the support of the saddle, the backrest and a foot rest.

More classes of travel

The thoughts behind the new seat offering is to enable airlines to offer a greater selection of seat classes on an aircraft. We won’t see budget airlines filling their planes with the SkyRider as there are limits on how many passengers an aircraft can carry. So as well as the usual economy, premium economy and business class, there could also be the budget option of ultra-basic economy, namely the SkyRider seats.

Will the concept take off?

While offering passengers a cheaper way to fly might seem like a good idea, in reality, will anyone really want to fly in such an uncomfortable seat? Just how low will the prices have to be for these seats to make them an appealing option? Just getting in and out of the seat might be tricky, and you’re going to be perched there for hours. Being so close to the seat in front is likely to feel very claustrophobic, and how would it feel for anyone who isn’t of average height or build?

But perhaps it’s going to be popular with a niche market. Those travelers on a budget, perhaps gap year students who just want to travel at the lowest cost possible. Flying is expensive, and if this brings more opportunities for people, then it could be a good thing. Hopefully these seats are more comfortable than they look, or air rage could also be an issue, with passengers in such close proximity to each other.

Safety concerns

The SkyRider seats have yet to be implemented in any aircraft, but there are rumors that an airline is intending to add these seats to their planes and Aviointeriors have stated that there has been a lot of interest from several airlines. The lack of comfort aside, these seats also raise some safety concerns. In an emergency situation, would these passengers be able to access life saving equipment, and if an evacuation was necessary, would the size of these seats hinder that exit?

The public are having their say

Naturally, these seats have certainly got people talking, airing their views on social media, most of which are not at all complimentary. It will be very interesting to see if an airline actually does fit these seats, and what people say after they’ve experienced them in real life for a journey of a few hours, rather than sitting in them for a couple of minutes at a show.

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