Commuting via airplanes is a common preference since it saves time. However, is it even cost-effective, that is a doubt for many. Drilling holes in pockets, air expense can make it a not-so ‘happy journey’.

The latest evolved concept of ‘standing airplane seats’ by an Italian manufacturer – Aviointeriors was brought to Hamburg, Germany at the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019, as Skyrider 3.0. The new seating facility is expected to become another alternative to the economy class, as the ‘ Ultra-basic Economy’. The Skyrider 3.0 is a standing ‘seat’ for airplanes, making travels cheaper for buyers and freeing up more space in the plane to enlarge business and/ or first-class areas.

The concept for standing airplane seats made its debut in 2010. It was introduced by Michael O’ Leary, the CEO of Ireland’s low cost airline Ryanair. However, it was only put to display by Aviointeriors at the expo last year. It was then called as Skyrider 2.0. Aviointeriors produces aircraft cabin interiors and passenger seats.

These new seats can be a definite opportunity for airlines to maximise revenue by allowing to squeeze in more people, however at the most only in short distance cases. The seats might be cheaper, but the amount of comfort is questionable. Aviointeriors was found comparing the comfort levels with horse riding. Which doesn’t really sound ‘comforting’.

The seats on display at the expo were tested by CNN Travel’s Francesca Street. They shared their experience say: ‘Sitting on the mock-ups at AIX feels a bit like sitting on a bike saddle: fine for a bit, but I’m only there for a few minutes and I can’t imagine much longer.’ She added, ‘Plus, it’s one thing testing it out on your own, it’d be another being in elbow-jostling distance of a couple of strangers.’

As per Gaetano Perugini, engineering adviser at Aviointeriors, Skyrider is not about creating ‘cattle class’ and packing in as many passengers as possible. The idea is rather for offering a multi-class configuration as the ‘ultra-basic’ option.

Clearly, the idea might only work for the shortest of distances, say from Delhi to Amritsar, or from Joburg to Durban or from Cape Town to George. The responses on social media seem discouraging even of that, and no takers for the standing ‘seats’ have surfaced yet.

(Article contributed by Ojasvini Sondhi)

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