Saddle up

The airline “cattle call” now has a whole new meaning.

Italian aircraft interiors manufacturer Aviointeriors is preparing to unveil a new airline seat design called the SkyRider this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California.  The seat resembles a horse saddle with armrests instead of a traditional flat cushion seat design.  According to  Ireland’s discount airline Ryanair, adding an extra level of economy seating could solve two fundamental issues facing many carriers today: flights that quickly over book and airfares that are still too high.  Ryanair also conducted a poll last year and discovered that half its budget minded travelers would be satisfied standing for the duration of a one hour flight if it meant lower fares.  Company research later found that introducing a “standing room” class would pack 30% more passengers into its planes and drop airfares by 20%.

The SkyRider seat reduces the distance between economy seating rows from 28 inches to 23 inches.  The SkyRider seat concept also introduces another potentially respectable class of flying that is between standing in the back of the aircraft and economy or “coach”.  The bottom line is that it offers the customer an additional discounted seating option that gets them to their intended destination.


It is not clear when this seating idea will be embraced by US airlines.  According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), passengers are not required to be seated during a flight but must only occupy a space or “berth” with a safety belt.  Furthermore, there are no regulations that define what kind of seat design or seat configuration an aircraft cabin must have which would allow a stool or perch type of seat for passengers.  As long as the SkyRider seats meet basic required regulations, it could easily be cleared for use by US airlines.  In my opinion, this will happen.  It’s just a matter of time.

Get ready to saddle up fellow air travelers.

More information on Aviointeriors can be found here.

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