These New Airline Seats Have Almost No Legroom

You would think airlines and aviation designers would want to create products that make flying more appealing to consumers, right? Well, one proposal from an Italian seat manufacturer has us scratching our heads — and slightly terrified that airlines might actually start installing these “seats.”

The seat design company Aviointeriors introduced the Skyrider 2.0 at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2018 in Hamburg, Germany. The idea is to cram more passengers onto an aircraft, which the company claims will save everyone — passengers and airlines alike — some money.

But is a little extra cash worth losing even more space while flying?

“Cowboy-Style” Air Travel?

Aviointeriors describes the Skyrider 2.0 as an innovative seat that allows an “ultra-high density in the aircraft cabin.” Passengers are seated at an increased upright position, like a saddle. As the company recently posted on Facebook, you can “ride the sky in cowboy style!”

Despite an obvious loss in the amount of space passengers have to themselves, Aviointeriors claims the seats maintain “an adequate comfort.”

The legroom available on popular, well-known airlines ranges from 28 to 34 inches. Spirit planes offer 28 inches of legroom, for example, while Jet Blue has 34 inches.

The Skyrider 2.0 provides just 23 inches of space! The seats include extra padding and poles that run from floor to ceiling (to hold in case you decide you’d rather just stand?). The Skyrider 2.0 would not only allow more seats to fit in an aircraft cabin — about 20 percent more, according to Aviointeriors — they also weigh less than a standard seat, which also means more of them could be installed on each plane.

Will These Seats Ever Really Take Off?

Did you notice the “2.0” in the name of this product? The original Skyrider was never approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. A video from Aviation News TV published in 2016 shows an earlier version of the seat:

Several airlines have considered the idea of “standing seats,” including Airbus and Ryanair, but no airlines have moved forward with the idea. A Ryanair spokesperson told CNN, “We have no plans to trial or introduce standing flights.”

In an interview with The Telegraph, the CEO of a low-cost Colombian airline floated the idea of standing seats as a money-saver. “We’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive,” said VivaColombia founder, William Shaw.

A jet-sized concern is the safety of passengers in the event of an emergency. The thinking there is that it would be far more difficult to evacuate. Plus, where do you put your stuff?

Affordable or not, does the Skyrider 2.0 look at all comfortable to you? Would cheaper airfares make up for having almost no legroom?