Just in case you didn't think that choosing flying as a means of getting from one point to another could get any more uncomfortable, here's a new idea that may dispel that thought. This new invention makes having to give up those deadly tweezers and having the rolls of fat around your middle (and elsewhere) scanned in three dimensions before being fondled by airline security personnel seem positively delightful.
An Italian company named Aviointeriors, founded in 1971, has just come up with a new seat that they call the "SkyRider" that would allow airlines to shoehorn additional passengers into already overcrowded and uncomfortable planes. Instead of having a pitch (the distance from a point on one seat to the same point on the seat behind) of 31 inches, an industry average, this wonder of modern technology has a pitch of only 23 inches...or, get this, even less! Just think, for every 3 rows of seats on an aircraft, your local provider of air transportation can now crowd in an extra row making that lineup to use the onboard lavatory even more excruciating if indeed you can even get out of your seat in the first place. Another benefit according to Avio is the weight advantage; since the seat weighs less, it will save on fuel. I'd also add that it could also mean that additional savings by airlines might be accomplished because only vertically and horizontally challenged passengers would be able to use the planes, thus reducing overall passenger mass.
The seat was unveiled last month at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas 2010 in Long Beach California. According to the Aviointeriors website, the new seat will:
"...offer the possibility to even further reduce ticket prices while still maintaining sound profitability, which, even with a dual or three class seating arrangement, will allow maximum certified passenger capacity of the aircraft. With a much reduced seat pitch, the SkyRider preserves a comfortable position for the low fare passengers.
The seat is being designed for short haul flights of up to two hours duration and that the seats could be used on flights of up to four hours if the fares were cheap enough. So far, no airlines have bitten.
If you look carefully at the passenger in the photo in this article, you'll notice that he is actually in a near-standing position. Aviointeriors describes it as a position that's "similar to that of a touring motor-scooter rider." While it may be like riding a motor scooter, I can get off and walk around when I get tired of that position when I'm on a motor scooter, something I most definitely will not be able to do while at 30,000 feet in an overcrowded airborne cabin flying at 300 miles per hour.
If airlines adopt this seat for even short haul flights, passengers had better consider dieting for weeks prior to boarding their flights and buxom women should perhaps consider breast reduction surgery to maximize their inflight comfort. Those who are over 5 feet 5 inches tall should just stick to regular, over-priced and under-serviced seating.
For some a great video of the seats in action, click here.