Join 3,559 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Hopalong Air Flight 58, now boarding
September 14, 2010 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Aviointeriors SPA, an Italian firm specializing in aircraft seats, has patented and is marketing the Skyrider, a new saddle-style design of seat that reduces the pitch (distance between rows) by some 28% from 81 cm to 58 cm (32 inches to 23 inches). Reaction has been mixed, to say the least.
posted by ricochet biscuit (100 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I knew letting Sergio Leone make all those westerns would come back to haunt us some day.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:03 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Americans won't stand for it
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:04 PM on September 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


This sent me into a mouth-foaming apoplectic rage when I first saw it. You know what's going to happen; they'll charge the current fare for the new seats, and raise the price for the regular seats.
posted by desjardins at 1:04 PM on September 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'd ride it if it had a horizontal bar that swung down from the top of the chair.

Also if the top half of the plane's fuselage was plexiglass.
posted by circular at 1:07 PM on September 14, 2010 [16 favorites]


The passenger’s seating position is similar to that of a touring motor-scooter rider

This only makes logical sense if you are grabbing the crotch of the rider in front of you, whilst in midflight.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's hard enough squeezing into the inside seats with the current setup; I wonder what kind of safety impacts this will have when everybody needs to evacuate the aircraft very quickly. If you get jammed between your seat and the one in front of you, it would be difficult to get into the aisle to find an exit.

Not to mention trying to get out to use the lavatory.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ordinary Rendition?
posted by isopraxis at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


So these flights... they would be adults within a certain height and weight range only? Because I can't picture how a child would sit on these or how a baby seat would attach.
posted by muddgirl at 1:08 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Proof that we're going backward as a civilisation. I'm off to play some Devo.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd rather walk.
posted by hermitosis at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2010


It's only a matter of time before something clicks with a human efficiency engineer watching Inception and we are all knocked out, intubated, and then stacked like cordwood, feet to face, while flight attendants load blocks of passengers into various bays. It's like the airline industry is locked into a death spiral of finding new ways to alienate their customers.
posted by adipocere at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


And my hips just started hurting looking at that thing. Seriously? Anyone who has even mild knee, hip, or lower back problems will be in excruciating pain after only an hour "sitting" in that thing. Let alone anyone who doesn't fit into it...
posted by strixus at 1:11 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


This seems like a half-measure to me. If you provided locking boots suspended from the ceiling, you could hang passengers upside-down with only a couple of inches between them.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:11 PM on September 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'd ride it if it had a horizontal bar that swung down from the top of the chair.

Only if they also do a barrel roll:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rILk6-4SMJQ
posted by poe at 1:11 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


tall folks who don't fly because of crushed knees say "awesome".
posted by klapaucius at 1:11 PM on September 14, 2010


I'd ride it if it had a horizontal bar that swung down from the top of the chair.

Been there, done that.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:12 PM on September 14, 2010


If nothing else, I am thrilled to be informed about the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas going on now! From 1-Shot Cargo Spray insecticide and human disease repellant to Ultem* Foam artificial dessert wafers, the future is NOW!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:13 PM on September 14, 2010


From Wired:
I’m almost 6 feet 3 inches tall, and I have a hell of a time flying. I recently got stuck in front of the exit row. My seat wouldn’t recline, but the one in front certainly did, and I had nowhere to put my knees. The SkyRider seat, by contrast, would make space for my long legs by raising the seats higher. It would also eliminate the pressure that the seat edge puts on my thighs, because the seat-squab is contoured and slopes down.
I'm 6'3" and hate flying for the same damned reason. But I'll take people reclining their seats into my knees instead of being forced to quasi-stand for an entire flight. I've had 55 minute flights last 4 or 5 hours thanks to delays. Hell no.
posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on September 14, 2010


I hate to be all herp derp think of the chillens, but how are children supposed to ride in this thing?
posted by boo_radley at 1:14 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So... it forces you to sort-of stand the entire flight, but it's physically impossible to put a child safely in one of these things for an entire flight? Which means no kids?

I'll take three.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:18 PM on September 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


...but how are children supposed to ride in this thing?

You'll sedate them and stack 'em in the Kiddie CarrierTM next to the galley.
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on September 14, 2010


These saddles suck, but If I have to deal with some new passenger cramming system, I would go for some kind of suspended harness, a la Johnny Jump Up, but made for adults.

Make fly-time fun-time!
posted by chambers at 1:19 PM on September 14, 2010


So these flights... they would be adults within a certain height and weight range only? Because I can't picture how a child would sit on these or how a baby seat would attach.

Thank you for pointing this out, I hadn't really considered the advantages.
posted by maxwelton at 1:20 PM on September 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


boo_radley: but how are children supposed to ride in this thing?

As excess baggage at an extra fee.
posted by pjern at 1:21 PM on September 14, 2010


Yeah, fuck those disabled people. They should stay on the ground where they belong.
posted by muddgirl at 1:22 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


The terrorists have won.
posted by Babblesort at 1:22 PM on September 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


It could be worse.
posted by exogenous at 1:22 PM on September 14, 2010


Wait, this is a joke, right? Right?
posted by redfisch at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2010


...won't the crotch-tacular part of that seat restrict blood flow for some passengers? I'm thinking deep-vein thrombosis for those with poor circulation issues, and anyone with lower-back problems/hip problems is going to want an extra scotch before the flight's done.

Also, what if you're a bit shorter - are you just supposed to dangle there from the crotch?
posted by zennish at 1:24 PM on September 14, 2010


but how are children supposed to ride in this thing?

The animal section of the cargo hold is an untapped revenue multiplier and a great way to maximize ROI.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:26 PM on September 14, 2010


It's only a matter of time before something clicks with a human efficiency engineer watching Inception and we are all knocked out, intubated, and then stacked like cordwood, feet to face, while flight attendants load blocks of passengers into various bays.

I cannot communicate how thoroughly okay with this I would be, indeed, how much nicer it would make flying for me. (Yes, I know, alcohol. How do you think I survive Terminal Five at Heathrow?)

My apparently ridiculously long legs think this is a great idea, actually, but I can see how it would be impractical for huge numbers of people.
posted by kalimac at 1:27 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be no worse than a current Delta cattle car to Florida full of retirees and Disneygoers. In fact, it looks a little more comfortable. Added bonus: kids would need to keep their feet on the deck so there's no more kicking of the seatback. Sucks for the disabled though.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:28 PM on September 14, 2010


I've got kids in L.A., Seattle, and D.C., and they all understand that I'm not going anywhere if it means flying. They'll be glad to see this, one more reason for me not to get on a plane and come bother them!
posted by HuronBob at 1:29 PM on September 14, 2010


Just cut to the chase and take out the seats and have everyone stand and hang onto bus straps.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:29 PM on September 14, 2010


"The seat structure itself also provides space for personal baggage."

Isn't that so magnanimous of them! Letting us take baggage with us and everything!
posted by amethysts at 1:30 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thankfully, these will never be allowed. You could easily get 200 seats into a 737-800, but there are two problems. One, the extra mass in passengers quickly limits how much fuel you can have on board, and at a certain point, the mass of the passengers, the luggage and the plane itself would go over max landing weight, with no fuel onboard. You can't fly the plane.

Secondly, the FAA requires that the entire cabin be able to be evacuated in 90 seconds or less. Adding more people means you need to add more exits -- the A380 has six exits on the upper deck, and 10 on the lower deck, to meet this.

Pack 250 people into a 737-800, and you'll never make the number. Because of this, you'll never see a 737-800 seating more than about 180 people, because otherwise, you can't meet the escape time requirement.
posted by eriko at 1:30 PM on September 14, 2010 [12 favorites]


There was a time when the expansion of air travel through decreased prices really was a public good--it opened up travel to a much larger number of people for business or pleasure.

We're long past that point. Air travel doesn't need to be cheaper. There's no possible benefit to the public at large to drop tickets to prices further, and for environmental reasons, we should probably start taxing air travel the way we do gas, in order to disincentivize it.
posted by fatbird at 1:31 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm tall for a woman (5'9") with oddly short legs. I have the feeling even I'd dangle from one of those seats. Also, my poor currently pregnancy-tortured pelvis is almost audibly weeping at the prospect of such a seat.

There is nothing good about these seats except for the manufacturer and airlines. Which means we'll see them on planes within two years.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 1:32 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The other alternative for moving more people per flight is to design aircraft with larger natural cabin capacity. I've seen plausible designs for something like a flying wing that has the cabin of a ferry, with 20 or 30 seats across instead of six or eight, at approximately the same cost in construction and fuel use. Aren't there any such planes in actual development?
posted by fatbird at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2010


Yes yes, lulz, but how would kids ride in this thing?
posted by boo_radley at 1:35 PM on September 14, 2010


I'm not a dude, but if I was, my first thought would be "ow, my man-parts!"

Kinda surprised that I'm the one bringing that up...
posted by emjaybee at 1:38 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eriko, you could however pack more people into coach while adding a larger first and business class. You could even have a two tier coach potentially.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:39 PM on September 14, 2010


So these flights... they would be adults within a certain height and weight range only? Because I can't picture how a child would sit on these or how a baby seat would attach.
...
I hate to be all herp derp think of the chillens, but how are children supposed to ride in this thing?
...
Yes yes, lulz, but how would kids ride in this thing?


People, it's not like these seats would ever be the only option on board a plane. If you're traveling with a child the child has to sit in a "traditional" (read: premium) seat. Same for obese passengers and anyone else the airlines can reasonably exclude.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:41 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those in favor of the sedation/cordwood method, do you really want the people who handle your baggage/TSA to have access to you while you're unconscious?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:41 PM on September 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can't wait to hit some turbulence and lose the ability to have children.
posted by PenDevil at 1:51 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Will they be sanitizing those front bits between flights? Because some takeoffs, turbulence and landings might be... a little too enjoyable for some folks.

And really, do we want to give CDC a new way to track STI transmissions?
posted by yeloson at 1:54 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


With a much reduced seat pitch, the SkyRider preserves a comfortable position for the low fare passengers

Low fare passenger? Is that airline speak for cattle?
posted by quin at 1:55 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those in favor of the sedation/cordwood method, do you really want the people who handle your baggage/TSA to have access to you while you're unconscious?

Nah, see you fly naked and your baggage goes on a separate plane, so you remove the need for the TSA completely.

Except for the body cavity search. And you'll want to be unconscious for that.
posted by condour75 at 1:58 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know how these would go. I do know that a similarly ridiculous looking seat is actually awesome for many people with chronic back pain, as it changes where the weight stress rides. I don't think these look particularly comfortable, but no worse than a bike seat, saddle or bar stool, all of which people regularly enjoy for hours on end.
posted by bystander at 1:59 PM on September 14, 2010


no worse than a bike seat, saddle or bar stool, all of which people regularly enjoy for hours on end.

Trust me, it's not the seat they're enjoying. ;)
posted by gilrain at 2:10 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meh. Planes are the new busses and subways. If people want to fly around the earth for two bits then of course airlines will bunch people together more and more. The cost of flying has dropped dramatically over the past decades, corners have to be cut somewhere.
posted by bjrn at 2:15 PM on September 14, 2010


Yes, exactly. The business case for this is to be able to offer an even wider price range for the same flight. For every cheapskate you cram in one of these seats, you can convert another seat to business class or "Economy Plus".
posted by anthill at 2:27 PM on September 14, 2010


The investors behind this seat are not that dumb as to not anticipate the FAA evacuation regulations, come on.
posted by anthill at 2:29 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is far from being the first similar proposal. In fact, Airbus and Lufthansa already filed joint patents for an even more outrageous "seat" almost a decade ago. So, if airlines and plane makers try to argue that this is not feasible, they're just bullshitting.
posted by Skeptic at 2:39 PM on September 14, 2010


The typographic conventions are also rather wasteful of space. We can reduce the ink use and page footprint by eliminating those silly capitals.

skyrider

And that Y would function the same if it was an 'i'

skirider

And, while we're adopting stupid contemporary trends, let's show how cool we are

skiridr

We can achieve further screen footprint reduction efficiency but removing other non-essential letters - surely there's no need for two 'r's and two 'i's?

skird

I think is a much better name, and more accurately reflects how passengers will feel, while achieving 60% environmental, efficiency, and readability gains.
posted by davemee at 2:47 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


fatbird, you're probably thinking of the Blended Wing Body. Structural considerations will probably require walls running along the length of the interior, partitioning some passenger sections into areas with no windows whatsoever. Last I heard, the general consensus is that these will be used for cargo flights, if at all.
posted by indubitable at 2:48 PM on September 14, 2010


What? No.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:52 PM on September 14, 2010


You could even have a two tier coach potentially.

That's even mentioned in one of the links. Direct quote from the company: "…while still maintaining sound profitability, which, even with a dual or three class seating arrangement, will allow maximum certified passenger capacity of the aircraft…"

They've definitely thought of the escape-time and weight/passenger requirements. Packing 300 people into a 737 isn't the idea. Being able to offer a "sub-economy" service and advertise even lower ticket prices seems like the plan.

You put a few rows of these things into your aircraft, and suddenly you can increase the pitch of the regular seats (like JetBlue) and charge for them. (Hell, or even just leave them be; in comparison, an ultra-high-density seat today is a premium product.) Or you could fit in more First / Business Class seats, although I don't think that's the direction any modern airline is going.

But you'd be able to advertise some absurdly low fare (for the not-really-seats seats) and then whip out a fee for what we now regard as cattle class at the last minute. I'm sure there's an MBA-approved term for this sort of asshattery; purposely creating an inferior product in order to make the existing one seem more upmarket.

What I wonder about is, given a choice of something like this and paying 20% more for a real seat, how many people really would take it? Because that would determine how many rows of these things you'd want to put in, and how many regular seats you'd want to take out. I have always felt that the airlines have only begun to plumb the depths of Americans' masochistic tendencies in search of bargains.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:54 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


My feet already sorta dangle from most airline seats (I can't set my feet flat on the floor, but sometimes I can step on my fully loaded purse...Will I ever feel like a grownup?). I'm about to get on a 7 hour flight and I'm already anticipating that lovely feeling of the weight of my lower legs ripping my knee joints apart. Not going to even broach the subject of that skyrider seat with a skirt.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:57 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like how they give you a little monitor to peer down into, to watch some grainy re-edit of a Hollywood Blockbuster (from 3 years ago).

And the tray table! The fold out tray table! What on earth is that for?
posted by metaxa at 3:11 PM on September 14, 2010


Let's bring back steerage class. Certainly those unused spaces in the wheel wells and inside the tail can be put to more profitable use.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 3:31 PM on September 14, 2010


My apparently ridiculously long legs think this is a great idea, actually, but I can see how it would be impractical for huge numbers of people.

These things will be built to accomodate humans roughly 5'6" +/- 3 inches.

Just like countertops, railings, desks.....

Not to mention - I'm 6'4". When was the last time you could stand at anywhere near full posture in an airliner ? I think I was 12.

These things look like a hunched over nightmare of backpain and misery.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:33 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


My knees and hips hurt just looking at those things. They're disability-hostile.
posted by immlass at 3:35 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ow, my balls!
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:40 PM on September 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


The investors behind this seat are not that dumb as to not anticipate the FAA evacuation regulations, come on.

(snickers to self)

You've never actually worked with venture capitalists, have you? They are remarkable at their ability to miss the obvious.

Remember: These guys funded the dot.boom.
posted by eriko at 3:50 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


i am wondering why an italian company came up with this design and not a portugese company as they have more experience with packing sardines.
posted by tustinrick at 3:53 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I wonder about is, given a choice of something like this and paying 20% more for a real seat, how many people really would take it? Because that would determine how many rows of these things you'd want to put in, and how many regular seats you'd want to take out.

My honest guess? Lots. Consumer purchases seem to fall into complete irrationality when it comes to air travel.

Just like people will drive for miles to save $0.04 total on a tank of gas, non-business air travellers have demonstrated that:

1, they're willing to slit throats for a couple of bucks difference in ticket prices. No loyalty to a brand or past experience.

2, they're willing to spend more in money, time and effort for the perception of saving money on the actual ticket.

You can see this in the success of airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet in Europe. Want to check in at a desk? Pay. Want to check bags? Pay. Want to sit next to your husband? Pay (if you even can.) Also, the distant tertiary airport is a £20-each train ride and an hour away from your destination.

When you do the math, you can usually travel on a mainline carrier from a convenient airport for roughly the same price, if not a lower total cost.

I saw some marketing data on this problem (problem for old mainline carriers, anyways.) I'll see if I can find it.
posted by generichuman at 3:59 PM on September 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


What I wonder about is, given a choice of something like this and paying 20% more for a real seat, how many people really would take it?

I'd certainly give it a try. The seat doesn't look that bad to me, but I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone. I'm surprised at how quick everyone is to deride this - if it saves money and reduces the environmental impact of flying, then surely it would be worth trying to see if the trade off is acceptable.
posted by ssg at 3:59 PM on September 14, 2010


eriko nailed it. They'll do this to pack on more passengers, but then the plane will be too heavy. Catch-22.

For short flight--an hour or maybe two--this really wouldn't be too bad, provided you're in good health and not overweight. But saving a few bucks would turn into a nightmare when that one hour flight stretches to 10 hours waiting on the tarmac because an a/c unit is malfunctioning, or an engine isn't working correctly, or another passenger makes a scene. There are a hundred reasons why you could be delayed and waiting, all the while standing in that upright coffin. No thanks.

This summer, a discount Chinese airline, Spring Airlines, offered one-way tickets from Tokyo to Shanghai (and vice versa) for 4,000. That's forty dollars. Trick is they installed these really cramped seats on the plane that don't recline at all. There are trays on the seat back but there's not really room for them to fold down all the way. In short, it's cramped, probably in other ways I don't know about. But again, it's only about 2 hours to Shanghai from Tokyo, so maybe it's bearable.
posted by zardoz at 4:06 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


eriko nailed it. They'll do this to pack on more passengers, but then the plane will be too heavy. Catch-22.

I'm not so sure the motivation is simply more passengers. Couldn't seating like this be used to further stratify the skies? Right now there are a certain # of people who are willing to fly coach but could afford business class because coach is 'good enough'. If you turned these sorts of seats into coach, you'd open up room for more "premium" seats that you could charge quite a bit more for. Because the US lacks other alternatives, those who must fly and can't afford the premium seats would be forced to make do, while the higher-margin customers would be forced into spending more money on 'premium' seating. Just a thought.
posted by cell divide at 4:21 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems like every so often some airline or another has to unveil a new seating arrangement like this, so that people can get all upset about it and say "THIS IS THE LAST STRAW," but the plan never goes into effect. I think it's a plot to keep passengers content with the current shitiness of commercial air travel.

They also suppress the jetpack industry. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
posted by brundlefly at 4:21 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


NO YOU FUCKING MUPPETS. NO MORE BULLSHIT SQUEEZING EVERY PENNY OUT OF THE CUSTOMER ALONG WITH THEIR DIGNITY, COMFORT AND LAST MICROGRAM OF HAPPINESS.

DO NOT WANT.
DO NOT WANT.
DO NOT WANT.

DO NOT WANT.


In summary: FUCKERS!
posted by lalochezia at 4:29 PM on September 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


The fucking Yes Men are really going too far with this one.

Wait, what?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:44 PM on September 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


At the first hint AA is going to install these, it will be time for a mileage run to some far off place in the current coach seat so I can get enough status to ensure a regular seat at the cattle price.

That said, I wouldn't have a problem with something like this for a short flight. The problem, of course, comes in when your short flight ends up being a long flight due to ground stops or whatever. That's why I almost always upgraded when I used to fly enough to have status. And why after my one experience on Spirit I will not be trying that one again. (I didn't pay for the ticket..I wish I had paid for one on another airline)

Of course, in the US, most short flights (and more and more 2+ hour flights) are being flown with commuter jets, on which there's no way even a small subset of the traveling public could stand upright enough for these seats to work.

Also, they'd have to can the overhead bins on all but the big widebodies or again, there wouldn't be room to stand upright. Even then, only shorter people could take a window seat. And the window would be pretty useless.

Besides, even today I don't think most airlines are looking for a lot more capacity. Overcapacity reduces fares, which they don't like. If your planes carry too many passengers, there aren't enough on any given flight to make it worth flying unless you reduce frequency, which reduces demand due to the inconvenience. The airlines would prefer smaller planes that, in aggregate, were as inexpensive per passenger to fly as a bigger plane. That way they get more frequency and flexibility for the same cost.
posted by wierdo at 5:09 PM on September 14, 2010


You people are all quite irrational.

fatbird has raised the only decent criticism here (apart from the use of the 'word' disincentivize) :
... for environmental reasons, we should probably start taxing air travel the way we do gas, in order to disincentivize it.

Putting aside the falsehood about there being 'no possible benefit' (why not let people make their own minds up about that, eh?) the only serious issue here is: would this increase or decrease net emissions?

Why are you all so scared of the market? Cheaper flying, for those that choose it, what is wrong with that? More choice is all that would be offered.

If prices went up for actual seats, then so what, that's the way the market works. It's not like airlines are a cartel or oligopoly, they have pretty strong competition, and they're also not hugely profitable (I wouldn't invest in them).

Super cheap seats, wah wah wah, how terrible.
posted by wilful at 5:09 PM on September 14, 2010


They'll do this to pack on more passengers, but then the plane will be too heavy

Carryons and luggage will now be subject to a $100 per-baggage convenience fee. Please consider buying your clothes and toiletries upon arrival, by browsing through our wonderful airport shopping options.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:11 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would fly in these seats for 20% off on flights less than 4 hours. I already endure 90 minute bus rides standing up squished next to extremely sketchy/drunk people, at least on this plane I'd have some personal space and a back rest.
posted by miyabo at 5:13 PM on September 14, 2010


For short flight--an hour or maybe two--this really wouldn't be too bad, provided you're in good health and not overweight.

In other words:

Client 1:
Absolutely. If we make sure the tenants are of light build and relatively sedentary and if the weather's on our side, I think we have a winner here.

posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:19 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought teleconferencing was supposed to solve this shit.

Stupid paradigm shift.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:33 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


BitterOldPunk wrote: "I thought teleconferencing was supposed to solve this shit."

You misunderstand. Teleconferencing is designed to cause this shit. ;)
posted by wierdo at 5:36 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


These seats horrified me when I saw them, but if they lead to kid-free flights, then perhaps I can be talked around...
posted by pompomtom at 6:38 PM on September 14, 2010


These seats horrified me when I saw them, but if they lead to kid-free flights, then perhaps I can be talked around...

We recently caught a flight for $99 return. 50 mins either way. What if it had been a $60 flight, would you have stood up?
posted by wilful at 7:25 PM on September 14, 2010


As someone who has spent 10-12 hours in a saddle (in hot dusty or raining conditions) astride a sweaty horse for weeks at a time this didn't horrify me right out of the gate. It's something I'd have to experience at least briefly to pass judgment on. A real problem though would seem to be overall width as these seats turn everyone into wide sitters.

I do have to say these might be awesome for commuter and light rail. Relatively short trips and couldn't be any worse then standing.
posted by Mitheral at 7:25 PM on September 14, 2010


The difference between this and a horse/barstool/whatever is that you can't bend over, outstretch your arms, or move from side to side at all.

If this type of seating was implemented (which I doubt it would be) what sort of implications would it have for the ADA in the US? Would handicapped people just have to suck it up and pay more for normal seats, or would they be entitled to lower rates in any way?

I also think that this would be really miserable because there would be a non-zero number of people who think they could spend a couple of hours on one of these seats, but in reality are not physically able. I'm thinking about people who are just barely tall enough to fit on one of the seats, people with recent groin/leg injuries, and people with minor joint issues that might be exacerbated. I'm just picturing getting stuck in a middle seat in between two sobbing people.
posted by fermezporte at 8:17 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't mind these for 30 min flights and under duress, but I'd be concerned for any flight more than that. Also, would like to sit and check this out for myself first before coming to a judgment.
posted by the cydonian at 8:19 PM on September 14, 2010


I thought teleconferencing was supposed to solve this shit.

Yep. But it won't come if there isn't the right pressure. Anything that makes air travel (especially business air travel) less inviting, including packing passengers like sardines, is good for telecommuting. Too many people fly for no damned reason.

People demanding their flying cars and jet packs and shit should instead demand the much more realistic goal of not commuting at all. Stay home 4 out of 5 business days. Make business flights a rarity. Tax business flights and put the revenue into the telecommunications and rail infrastructures. Charge twice as much for a comfortable wide-ass airline seat, but make it so you have to fly half as often.
posted by pracowity at 11:22 PM on September 14, 2010


The passenger’s seating position is similar to that of a touring motor-scooter rider

It certainly is about the duration of the flight. Despite being Italian, I'd venture to say these guys have never actually done any scooter touring. Having spent months worth of 12-14 hour days straddling a Vespa on a trip round India, and having been barely able to walk at the end of many of those days, I wouldn't buy a spot in/on one of these for any flight longer than an hour.
posted by Ahab at 1:17 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know about the US, but in Europe I'm not sure there is much scope for making airfares cheaper. I fly between Dublin and Birmingham every couple of weeks. If I book the flights a couple of weeks ahead, I generally pay about €100--€82.60 (which is fixed) of that is taxes and charges and Aer Lingus's bloody "handling fee". Granted, you could cut the price for walk-up fares somewhat, but the flight's usually pretty full anyway.

Ryanair's seats don't recline. This at least avoids having the seatback in front of you being reclined onto your knees.

For me, the main problem with the principle of this si that it's yeat another way of the airline saying "We don't give a shit. We don't have to.". That they don't have to is proved by the existence of Ryanair.
posted by Logophiliac at 1:32 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fact, I'd prefer that effort was put into developing a bed-like seat, i.e. you're horizontal for the entire flight.

If you eliminated the overhead luggage space, many planes could accommodate a triple decker bed perpendicular to the direction of travel, thus allowing everyone to enter and exit easily. You're top row would however become restricted to able bodied passengers, much like current exit rows. You'll handle significantly more checked baggage after eliminating overhead luggage space of course, but you'll probably still get more people onto the plane even after adding a coat racks or such.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:36 AM on September 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. What is the problem with this? Airlines are *rarely* profitable as it, instead relying on defaulting on debt and other various instruments to keep flying.

It's not like airlines hate their passengers and want to make them uncomfortable. It's a game-theory argument. So long as there are people who will ride to Spain for holiday in these seats, the airlines don't care if you like them, because someone else will ride in them. You're opting out of the choice and that's fine.

But seriously, go read the annual report of an airline and look at where the money goes. It's not like there are 30 year old airline billionaires with movies being made about them (Mark Zuck). Airlines are a difficult dirty business. Further, if you read those annual reports, the big costs are 1) taxes, 2) unions, 3) fuel, 4) compliance, health and safety with airport regulations.

None of those are anything the airlines have direct control over.

If you do not want these seats, here's what you have to do:

• Convince people not to go on holiday to Spain (good luck... it's an hour and a half flight. It's not a prison sentence.)

and then,

1) Have the government reduce landing taxes.
2) Negotiate wage reductions with the unions
3) Sort out the global oil cartel
4) Go talk to to Big Sis about chilling out on the $50k xray scanners.

It's fine to be mad but be mad at the right people.
posted by nickrussell at 5:23 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I already can't sit comfortably on airplanes. I have this weird way of sitting all folded up on myself and airplane seats aren't *wide* enough for me to do so (think of a kid sitting "criss cross applesauce" only with one leg underneath and the other one kind of pointing up, sortof) - my knees just throb with pain after about hour 2 of any flight.

Were I forced to quasi-stand on a plane... well, the airline would make money alright. Money off of me selling my kidneys for a first class ticket.
posted by sonika at 6:09 AM on September 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Dear passenger,

In the case of emergency, please swallow the cyanide capsule in the compartment in front of you. This so that your death will not be counted as an air safety related incident which would result in lengthy investigations and costly safety measures. Because that would raise prices and you don't want that, do you?"
posted by eeeeeez at 6:20 AM on September 15, 2010


Also, the distant tertiary airport is a £20-each train ride and an hour away from your destination.

If you're lucky; sometimes it's a lot further, like RyanAir's "London Prestwick Airport" (on the outskirts of Glasgow).
posted by acb at 7:01 AM on September 15, 2010


Weird to read about "Frankfurt-Hahn Airport," seeing as how I used to live there.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:36 AM on September 15, 2010


You know, I rode on some cramped-ass busses in Guatemala. I mean, folks sitting three-to-a-seat in refurbished American school busses — the kind where small children sit only two-to-a-seat when we use them here? Yeah, those. With luggage. Extra passengers standing in the aisles. For hours.

What made it more or less bearable-ish was the sense of equality and comradery. Need to get off? Yell at the driver and he'll stop. No need to be obsequious about it, he's not your boss, he's just a regular guy like everyone else. Need directions? Ask anyone, they'll be happy to tell you. Got snacks? Offer some to the family next to you. Feel chatty? Hey, we're all stuck on this godawful crowded bus, we may as well tell some goddamn jokes. Need to puke? Yeah, we've all been there — lemme open you a window.

So, I mean, it's exhausting and stressful and whatever, and it definitely made me long for a car of my own, but it's not alienating the way air travel is. You arrive with a sore ass and a pounding headache but you don't hate the rest of humanity. It's an interesting contrast.

What I want to know is, is that sort of "Yeah, buddy, we're all in this together" attitude consistent with quick travel in individual reclining seats? Or do you have to pick one or the other?

My real fear about these contraptions, of course, would be that you'd get all the alienation of air travel and all the discomfort of the Guatemalan bus system. And that's just not cool. If my crotch is going to be precisely 23 inches from another guy's crotch for three hours, we'd better be in a telling-dumb-jokes-and-sharing-our-snack-food kind of relationship.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:37 AM on September 15, 2010


A really smart airline would install these, but put the saddley-things on top of a fake casing for a B61 or B83 shared between several rows. And, for a fee, provide you with a cowboy hat you could wave around while you whooped and hollered pretending you were Slim Pickens at the end of Dr. Strangelove.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 AM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


nickrussell said:
the big costs are 1) taxes, 2) unions

Unions are a "cost" now? Would that be the Ayn Rand school of accounting?
posted by Goofyy at 10:18 PM on September 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have joint problems, so flying is miserable on that count and I have enough trouble with my stomach that long flights can be fairly unpleasant if I get fed the wrong food. This type of seating makes Greyhound look GOOD!

Another thing, I have seldom on any American carrier had much luck with reclining my seat. I like the idea of someone designing totally reclineing space for eveyone, or nearly eveyone. I could see it serously saving space, and being more comfortable. If most of the passengers are asleep, there would be less work for the crew. Being in a fully reclined position would be better for people's necks, legs and backs. People could still have a vey small carry-on. This would eliminate the whole getting clobbered by luggage from the overhead bins. It would make getting to the bathroom easier as well.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:40 PM on September 15, 2010


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "These things look like a hunched over nightmare of backpain and misery."

Yeah. I'm also 6'4". The photo of the woman sitting in one of these seats - she looks to be around 5'8" at the most, and it's pretty obvious to me that her knees are sticking out far enough that she'd have difficulty assuming the same position if there were another row of seats in front of her.

On the plus side, there's no way you'd end up sitting next to any especially obese passengers. They wouldn't be able to fit between the seats. Perhaps this is a way to force larger people to pay more for seats?
posted by caution live frogs at 8:05 AM on September 16, 2010


(Not saying that making larger people pay more is necessarily a good thing - just saying it looks like it's an intentional result of the design.)
posted by caution live frogs at 8:06 AM on September 16, 2010


« Older Sorry I Haven't Posted: Inspiring Apologies From T...  |  Carrie: The Musical, is legend... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments