Giddy-Up For Lower Fares
If the various indignities of modern airline travel haven't been enough to push some disgruntled passengers toward private aviation, the SkyRider just might. Italian airliner seat manufacturer Aviointeriors will introduce a saddle-shaped design at next week's Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach. It says can be installed in just 23 inches per seat. The base of the seat is, uh, form-fitting, with depressions for the legs that will naturally pitch them forward in what appears to be an attempt to minimize necessary leg room. The result is a half-standing/half-sitting posture, but designer Gaetano Perugini told USA Today it's not the standing room that some budget carriers have suggested. "Even though the (distance between seats) is extremely narrow, we are talking about seats, not about ... having passengers simply standing on the floor," he says. "You are sitting on a special seat, but it is a seat." Aviointeriors Director General Dominique Menoud said the seats will be as comfortable as a cowboy's saddle and he apparently wasn't kidding. "The seat ... is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle."
Menoud said he envisions airlines setting aside separate sections of aircraft with the extra-close seating for those willing to sacrifice room for a cheaper fare on flights of up to three hours. He said he's already seen interest from some unidentified U.S. carriers and if he gets some commitments he'll seek certification. "We feel extremely confident that this concept will ... have great appeal to airlines for economic purposes," he said.