Well, the economy seats of today could be positively luxurious in comparison to the economy seats of the future, if a particular Italian airline seat manufacturer has anything to do with it.
In a sad indictment of the times, Aviointeriors unveiled its latest design – Skyrider 2.0 – at the Airliners Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, last week.
The Skyrider 2.0 is essentially a glorified horseback saddle with a backrest. The bright yellow seats are tilted so that passengers are half-seated and half-standing, which may be excellent news for your posture but not so great for your comfort.
The big selling point is that they are high-density, taking up just 58 centimeters (23 inches) in width, roughly 13 centimeters (5 inches) less than your standard, no-frills economy seat of the present. This would make them highly economical for airliners, who could use them to pack in more passengers per flight.
"The design of this seat enables to increase the passenger number by 20 percent allowing increasing profits for airline companies," Aviointeriors say.
As you might be able to tell from its name, it is the second iteration of a concept the company first put forward in 2010. The original Skyrider didn't get very far and no airliners bought into the product.
The company is hoping that a little extra padding and the addition of poles connecting rows of the seats to the cabin from floor to ceiling will help this latest edition garner a little more interest than its forerunner.
Fortunately, you shouldn't have to worry about it being adopted by airlines in the foreseeable future. Aviointeriors would first have to prove that the seats are safe in the event of a crash and the product would then have to be approved and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other similar boards in other countries. As CNN pointed out, there are several problems with the Skyrider 2.0, including a lack of under-seat storage room for personal belongings and possible evacuation delays as a result of the limited space between seats.
However, it is not the only economy-class, cost-saving idea that has been floating around lately. According to AOL, VivaColumbia has considered removing all seats to make way for more standing space and, in 2010, Ryanair proposed a standing room and pay-to-use toilets.