Will You Have To Stand Up To Fly

Airlines once distinguished themselves on the basis of service and amenities. Now air travel is a commodity.

Have you heard about the new proposed airline seats–standup seats? The actual word came a few months ago, but today I finally heard about someone who sat stood in one. His opinion in a minute.

First an explanation of the seats in somewhat broken English from the Italian manufacturer.

The “SkyRider”, is an ultra-high density seat presently completely engineered and to be finally tested. The SkyRider has been designed and engineered to offer the possibility to even further reduce ticket prices while still maintaining sound profitability, which, even with a dual or three class seating arrangement, will allow maximum certified passenger capacity of the aircraft. With a much reduced seat pitch, the SkyRider preserves a comfortable position for the low fare passengers.

This is all about the money–obviously. That’s why airlines are in business: to make money. Passengers are nothing more than a necessary evil in achieving profit.

In today’s Times finally a first hand butt level assessment from Joe Sharkey their On The Road columnist. It’s the first I’ve read.

As television cameras poked around the display seats for angles, Mr. Menoud asked me, “It is very comfortable, no?”

“No,” I replied, though Mr. Menoud, beaming, seemed to take that as an assent.

I didn’t argue, but it was definitely not comfortable, although the seat, under the name SkyRider, is being promoted as resembling a horse saddle. I wasn’t buying that either. I have ridden many a horse, and the SkyRider seat is nothing like being in the saddle, whether Western or English. Sitting in one was more like being wedged, legs braced, on a stationary bicycle.

That’s what I was expecting. The seats look really cramped. They makes today’s coach seats seem positively spacious.

Some airlines will still buy them!

In spite of dimly remembering pleasant air travel in the era before stewardesses became flight attendants flying today is anything but! Airlines once distinguished themselves on the basis of service and amenities. Now air travel is a commodity. The only differences between flights are convenience and price…. and convenience is very far behind.

In a famously telling story the president of Spirit Airlines once sent an email to his staff in response to a complaining customer.

Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny.

Sharkey says Spirit is a likely candidate for these standing room seats. So is Europe’s uber discount carrier RyanAir.

Price rules! A future of seats like these is unavoidable.