Sitting comfortably? Real passengers finally get to try out new ‘saddle class’ seats (and somehow we can’t see it catching on)
Potential passengers were given the chance to ‘saddle up’ and try out a plane seat which brings a new meaning to the term cattle class – but it doesn’t look as though they enjoyed the ride.
Appearing rather squashed, people were strapped into the ‘Skyrider’, which could be used by budget airlines to cram more passengers on board, as it was unveiled in America.
Those behind the design, first revealed by the Mail, claim they have not compromised on comfort.
But, with the chair less than a foot from the end of their noses – with seven inches less leg-room than the standard 30 inches – these flyers seemed far from impressed.
The concept, designed by Italian aircraft seat design company Aviointeriors, could especially appeal to no-frills carriers who are keen to make flights more profitable.
Earlier this year, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary suggested the Irish airline may soon carry a number of ‘vertical seats’, although plans seem to have been scuppered by European aviation authorities.
However, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California, one man in a blue shirt looked as though he was stuck as he tried to squeeze out of a back-row seat.
When Marion Dinicola, from New York, sat in the Skyrider, the seat in front of her was just inches away from her chest.
While Jenny Carlino, regional manager for Aviointeriors, was all smiles as she tested her company’s latest product – but she was sitting comfortably in the front row.
The Skyrider is styled on saddles used by cowboys in the Wild West – the makers claim you can sit on a horse for long periods of time and not feel discomfort.
Several airlines have already expressed an interest according to Dominique Menoud, director general of Aviointeriors Group: ‘We feel extremely confident that this concept will have great appeal to airlines for economic purposes.
‘For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours this would be comfortable seating,’ he adds.
‘The seat is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.’
Passengers would pay less to sit in an area of the cabin installed with the seats.
In July this year, Ryanair’s O’Leary said his airline would offer vertical seats – essentially passengers would perch on a narrow shelf and lean against a flat padded backboard – for as little as £4 each way.
The company’s colourful chief executive said he would remove the back ten rows of seats from 250 planes and replace them with 15 rows of so-called ‘vertical seating’.
They would be restrained with a strap stretching over their shoulder, the budget airline said.
But the bizarre initiative ran into an immediate obstacle. European aviation safety regulators said the perches would not