A new airline seat design could allow planes to squeeze in 20 percent more passengers and lower fuel costs.
The Skyrider 2.0, a new idea by Italian aerospace interior design company Aviointeriors, positions passengers almost completely upright, using a polyester saddle and back support. This allows airlines to squeeze an additional 20 percent more passengers in per flight. The Skyrider also weighs half as much as a standard economy class seat, lowering fuel costs.
Aviointeriors calls Skyrider 2.0, “the new frontier of low cost tickets and passenger experience”. The seat is an updated version of one introduced by the company in 2010, which failed to get FAA approval. The design for the previous seat was supposedly based on a saddle, with Aviointeriors director general explaining at the time, “Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.” The new version boasts extra padding and poles between the cabin ceiling and floor anchoring each row. The updated version is also more attractive than the old version, but still offers just 23 inches of pitch (the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seat in front of it). The Skyrider is intended as seating for a new budget class.
Airline companies have been considering similar high-capacity seating for a long time. In 2010 Airbus patented a glorified bicycle seat with a seatbeat, and RyanAir has proposed standing seats before (both ideas have failed to meet with approval from aviation authorities, for safety reasons). We have seen a number of innovations aimed at making flying easier and offering passengers more options for luxury. These include luxury cabins with flat beds and in-flight yoga. Now there is also an option offering passengers less luxury. Will budget airline passengers be willing to trade more misery for lower prices?