We’ve all seen endless videos about those luxurious and comfortable first and business class seats on airlines like Emirates, EVA Air, or SWISS, or even the very spacious ‘Residence’ suites on Etihad. However, you don’t see fun, viral videos about the cramped conditions in economy.
Airlines globally have adopted a number of space saving techniques to maximize economy seating including using slim line seats, reducing seat pitch and legroom, and even squeezing in more seats per row on wide-body aircraft. U.S. legacy carriers also introduced a new class called Basic Economy, which is supposed to cost less than economy seating, aimed at grabbing potential customers away from competing low-cost carriers like Spirit, JetBlue, Allegiant, and others.
Basic economy seating comes with less perks such as no access to the overhead bins, free seating assignment only after check-in, and being the last to board (options vary depending on which airline you fly with). However, the physical seats are exactly the same as regular economy.
At the recently held Aircraft Interiors Expo in Germany, Aviointeriors recently displayed their SkyRider seats that could give Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary a raging hard on.
The saddle-styled seats feature a mere 23 inches of pitch, roller coaster seat belts, and a foot panel to support the rest of your body weight.
Don’t expect to see seats like these replacing entire aircraft cabins, but with the reduced legroom and seat pitch, it could easily be slipped in the back of the bus to make room for additional business class or premium economy seats. That would be a win-win for the airline, assuming there are passengers willing to pay to use seats like these.
The Points Guy’s JT Genter had the chance to try them out and had this to say:
I just had to experience for myself how uncomfortable the seat would be. So, I stretched my visit to the SkyRider for as long as possible, ending up with about 10 minutes in the seat, first in the front row and then the back. The front row wasn’t bad, but at 5 foot 11 inch tall, my knees were firmly planted against the seatback for the entire time in the rear row.
The seats are geared specifically for short haul flights, maxing out at three hours. With a further reduction in space, passengers could expect to enjoy even cheaper tickets which could work out well for those hopping from city to city on a regular basis.
Even though the company introduced the concept back in 2010, no airlines have signed on to install these seats, but they did indicate that some airlines have shown strong interest in the product.
We wouldn’t be surprised if American Airlines’ Doug Parker is the first to try these out on the already cramped 737 MAX 8, the same one he’s never even set foot on.