Semi-Standing Seats Proposed for Passenger Planes

These chairs give the phrase "please put your seatbacks in the upright position" a whole new meaning.

An Italian aircraft interiors company called Aviointeriors is proposing a new semi-standing 'seating' configuration that airlines could use to create a 'basic' class to maximize passenger count and profits, while lowering ticket prices.

The company says that its saddle-like SkyRider chairs can be stacked together with only 23 inches of legroom between them - compared to the 31 inch minimum typically found in coach today. It compares their level of comfort to sitting on a motor scooter.

The idea of 'vertical' seats has been floating around the industry for several years now, but Aviointeriors is the first company to publicly offer the product. There are no reported takers for the SkyRiders...yet, but Aviointeriors is displaying them at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas in Long Beach, Calif. this week.

Earlier this year, the C.E.O. of Irish budget airline Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, said that he was considering adding similar seats on his company's planes, but recently told Bloomberg that they wouldn't save enough money and that he was considering creating a true standing room area, instead. Ryan says that it would use handrails like those found on a train or bus and told the publication that "the argument against it is that if there’s ever a crash, people will be injured. If there’s ever a crash, the people in the sit-down seats will be injured, too.”