New upright airline 'seat' could see 20% more passengers fit into planes

Helen Coffey

The next generation of cramped airline seat could soon hit runways.

Italian seating company Avio Interiors unveiled its Skyrider 2.0, which “allows an ultra-high density in the aircraft cabin”, at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

The design has a reduced pitch, meaning passengers are in a more upright position, rather than sitting as normal.

This feature enables airlines to increase passenger numbers by up to 20 per cent, claims Avio Interiors, “allowing increasing profits for airline companies.”

It said in a statement: “The Skyrider 2.0 is an innovative seat, it allows an ultra-high density in the aircraft cabin. Skyrider 2.0 opens the travelling experience to a wider passenger market, creating also a useful space for the introduction [of] mixed classes boarded on the same aircraft.

“Its main feature is the original bottom that ensures an increased upright passenger position allowing installation of the seat at a reduced pitch, while maintaining an adequate comfort.”

Avio Interiors says the new seat design also weighs 50 per cent less than a standard economy seat and has fewer components, making it cheaper and easier to maintain.

The seats themselves resemble a horse’s saddle more than a traditional chair, with a raised section in the middle – designed so that passengers put a leg either side and lean, rather than sit.

The seat could increase capacity by 20 per cent (Avio Interiors)

It is not yet known whether any airlines have put in an order for the Skyrider 2.0, which Avio Interiors claims is “the new frontier of low cost tickets and passenger experience.”

The seat launch comes after budget airline VivaColombia hit headlines for saying it was considering plans to remove all seats from its aircraft.

The no-frills airline founder and CEO William Shaw told the Miami Herald in June 2017 that it was looking into vertical travel options. He said: “There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up – we’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive.”

He added: “Who cares if you don’t have an inflight entertainment system for a one-hour flight? Who cares that there aren’t marble floors… or that you don’t get free peanuts?”

Ryanair proposed something similar in 2010, with CEO Michael O’Leary saying he could envisage standing areas that had “bar stools with seatbelts”.