Gallery: New Ultra-Compact Airplane Seats Pack in the Passengers


As budget airlines scramble for ways to squeeze more passengers into planes — some have proposed standing-room only tickets — an Italian design firm has what it thinks is a good compromise: a saddle-type seat that angles passengers’ legs beneath them so that rows can be 25 percent closer together. Does the budget seat offer a viable way for frequent fliers to reduce their carbon footprint?

You can guess how most people are responding to the so-called SkyRider seat, which will be formally launched at a trade show next week. Wired called the budget seating “cattle class” — a surly spin on Aviointeriors director Dominique Menoud’s allusion to cowboys’ long days in the saddle. He suggests that the seat could be comfortable for flights up to three hours long, however the seat only allows one position, so for flights longer than that it would undeniably be sheer torture.

But, all grumbling aside, flying is an extremely carbon-intensive endeavor — and one that many people who are otherwise green can’t avoid. Is it worth the sacrifice of sitting like sardines in a can to shrink your eco-impact — and save some cash — on shorter flights?

+ Aviointeriors

Via Wired

Photos © Aviointeriors


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  1. PrincessandtheWarrior July 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    A three hour flight isn’t really a short distance away – It takes roughly 3 hours to fly from Boston, MA to Miami, FL (I lived in Boston for 6 years and my family is in Miami and I made this trip countless times) … it takes a little over 24 hours to drive this straight, about 40 hours on a bus and about 36 hours on a train – and judging from the price quotes I just got from Amtrak and Greyhound, while checking the times, it costs less to fly. I don’t think anyone would say that Boston and Miami are close or that its silly to fly when traveling between them. Sure, it would be great if we had high speed trains in the US – but we don’t … in FL we voted (twice) to build a high speed train that went from Miami to Orlando (it would have been subsidized by Disney) and because we live in a country that doesn’t really care about doing good things it never happened. Coincidentally, it takes about 3 hours to drive from Miami to Orlando, which I have also done countless times, and about 45 minutes to an hour to fly (which I have never done and would never do) … I can’t remember the amount of time the high speed train would’ve been but I think it was under an hour.

  2. spankyspangler September 29, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Looking at the design, it appears they’ve taken a side view of a person reclined in a normal airline seat and rotated them forwards.

    While this may appear a clever solution on paper it completely neglects the problem of gravity. This seat will focus all a person’s weight on the top of their legs and buttocks… which will give you a numb bum within minutes.

  3. karlus September 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I fail to see this as “green” measure. So, they pack more people into one plane…does that make the plane use less fuel ? Or do you think that they’ll reduce the number of flights because of this ? I sincerely doubt so. In fact, this might reduce prices, thus increasing the number of passengers…and thus maintaining or even increasing the number of flights (whatever gives them more profit).

  4. rigg4d September 14, 2010 at 3:06 am

    And for longer flights, wouldn’t packing 4-5 beds in height be best? It would be comfortable and efficient (except maybe for boarding).

  5. mdolds September 14, 2010 at 12:07 am

    my lower back already hurts just looking at the posture of the seated model

  6. kgsbca September 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    If we’re going to do inter-city transportation right, we should use high speed trains for short trips. They would use less energy, be less expensive, consume less of the traveler’s time, and be more comfortable. The only people opposed to it are the airline and jet industries (and their co-dependents), and the politicians who want their money. Packing more people in to an already uncomfortable plane is not a solution that is optimal for everyone, only a small subset of the nation.

  7. dim September 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    this is aweful.
    i’ll never fly anything like this.

    I always laugh when I see these nice renderings by airlines of new aircraft. the renderings always show lounge spaces and all this room but you know at the end of the day all that is gone and they’re just gonna end up stuffing as many bodies in there as they can.

  8. Nivekian September 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I would not want to sit in one of these for longer than an hour…

  9. rhuigen September 13, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    you know.. when a flight is less than three hours.. why not consider taking a train or so? This is like inventing an extemely fuel efficient car for distances than can be done on a bike..

  10. michaeljanzen September 13, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    This IS green… but it seems crazy too. I’m not sure you’d catch me flying “Sardine Airlines”

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