Standing room only

September 16, 2010

They’ve wrested food, free alcohol, and peanuts from you. They’ve made you pay for luggage and lavatories.

Just when you thought there was nothing left for the airlines to squeeze, comes Italian company Aviointeriors’ new aircraft ‘SkyRider’ standing seat.

Melvyn Koh (C) tries out Italian company Aviointeriors' new aircraft 'standing seat' which has 23 inches of legroom, instead of the current economy class average of 30 inches, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California, September 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Gone is all that unnecessary space between your stomach and the seat in front of you.

The SkyRider, which made its debut this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California, has 23 inches of legroom, instead of the current economy class average of 30 inches.

I’m 5 foot 6 inches and weigh 110 pounds, and the seat felt snug. It felt more like straddling a horse than standing. The saddle was comfy, but the seat back forced me to sit bolt upright. There was no room to open a laptop and I would imagine my ankles would swell in this position after a few hours in the air.

A man tries out Italian company Aviointeriors' new aircraft 'standing seat' which has 23 inches of legroom, instead of the current economy class average of 30 inches, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California, September 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

As I was photographing the SkyRider, a tall man attempted to sit down and then just laughed. Marion Dinicola from New York squeezed herself into the seat, but was unable to lower the tray table. She said she worries about airlines threatening to charge her for two seats when she flies, so would definitely not fly on a plane with these new seats.

Marion Dinicola from New York tries out Italian company Aviointeriors' new aircraft 'standing seat' which has 23 inches of legroom, instead of the current economy class average of 30 inches, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California, September 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

It may be okay for short flights and short people but forcing the seats on a general American population that is becoming taller and fatter would be a cruel and unusual punishment.

The seats are intended as a new cabin-class, below economy. Some airlines have introduced extra charges for window seats and exit rows.

Maybe a la carte pricing is the flying of the future?

Ddier Resendiz tries out Italian company Aviointeriors' new aircraft 'standing seat' which has 23 inches of legroom, instead of the current economy class average of 30 inches, at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach, California, September 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

For the current price, I could choose a shrunken seat compensated with gourmet food and wine, and expanded overhead bin space for my camera equipment.

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