A horrible new seat design may well become the future dystopian nightmare of air-based travel.
You’ve heard that sitting is bad for your health, right? In general, sitting down at the office for hours on end is responsible for taking years off your life. Sitting on an airplane for 20 hours straight might even kill you much faster with a blood clot. There are real dangers from sitting down.
Italian aerospace interior firm Aviointeriors Group took the news that “sitting is bad” to heart, and created the Skyrider 2.0. The seats place the passenger in a “near standing” position so that they don’t have to worry about the perils of sitting down.
Unveiled at the Hamburg Aircraft Interiors Expo last month, Skyrider 2.0 resembles the same sort of seating you’d find on a rollercoaster. The only thing missing is the giant metal bars that go over your torso.
"The Skyrider 2.0 is an innovative seat, it allows an ultra-high density in the aircraft cabin,” says the Aviointeriors Group website. "Its main feature is the original bottom that ensures an increased upright passenger position allowing installation of the seat at a reduced pitch, while maintaining an adequate comfort."
Adequate for whom, exactly? The reduced legroom from having your legs partially stretched brings the distance between seats down to 23 inches. Compare that to the 28 inches you get from low-cost carriers like Spirit, and you’ll start to realize the expression “being squeezed in like sardines in a can” is sounding less and less like hyperbole.
The seats weigh 50% less than regular economy seats while also allowing them to be placed 20% closer together. This, naturally, increases “the passenger number by 20% allowing increasing profits for airline companies."
Unfortunately, the industry trend is for business class to get ever plusher while economy class gets every more spartan. Airlines are already considering doing away with seatback screens to save weight, and many “basic economy” carriers do away with amenities like in-flight meals, choosing where you sit, and being allowed carry-on luggage. Soon we may be giving up the comfort of actually sitting down.