New 'stand-up' plane seat labelled 'torture chamber'

The amount of leg room has been slashed by more than a quarter

Cathy Adams
Friday 21 June 2019 16:36
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New stand-up seats on airlines revealed

A new “stand-up” plane seat had a mixed reception at this year’s Paris Air Show.

The latest iteration of the the Skyrider 3.0 seat, designed by Italian firm Avio Interiors, was on show at the event. It was officially unveiled at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg in April.

The new Skyrider “saddle” seat is more upright than a standard plane seat. Rather than sit down, passengers sort of "perch" on it with their legs draped down as if they were riding a horse.

The seat has a pitch – the space between one seat and the seat in front – of just 23 inches. Most traditional plane seat pitches in economy are around 30 inches. The 23 inch pitch is of “acceptable comfort for the passenger”, said Avio Interiors.

The slim design of the Skyrider seat will allow airlines to fill the economy aircraft cabin to the max by packing passengers in more tightly. Avio Interiors estimates that airlines can cram in 20 per cent more passengers with this new seat.

“Evolving market environment in short haul routes is steering Avio Interiors to the new design of the Skyrider concept,” the company said in a statement.

Ermanno De Vecchi, CEO of Avio Interiors, said at the Paris Air Show that the seat was "ready to go", and can be used "immediately" by airlines.

However, visitors to the Paris Air Show weren’t convinced. Andreas Spaeth, a Germany-based aviation journalist, said the seat was a “no go” for more than 10 minutes.

Aviation journalist Kathryn Creedy called the Skyrider seat a “torture chamber”.

One user asked whether the seat should exist.

The new seat follows a number of stories of airlines reducing legroom in recent years.

In 2017, British Airways hit headlines for reducing legroom on some short-haul flights on Airbus A320s to 29 inches: the same as easyJet but an inch shorter than Ryanair.

The same year, American Airlines slashed seat pitch by up to two inches in its 737 Max jetliner fleet, with some seats also reduced to 29 inches of legroom.

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