I’ve been trying to find the right words to write this article since Aircraft Interiors Expo, and trust me – it’s a struggle, least of all balancing the promises with that saddle seat with the possible moans and complaints it could generate…
Why? Part of me says “I can’t see it working”. But I spent some time with Avio Interiors and took a look at their updated SkyRider 2.0 concept.
Now, I’m keeping this as serious as possible – and if you want to fight about this, the comments section is open for business (just keep it clean please).
Last year, Avio interiors were proposing the largest a full cabin of these in a 737/A320.
Thankfully, they’ve started to apply logic to the cabin – this time working on the theoretical full load a cabin can take, rather than packing out a full cabin of these “seats”.
One of the barriers that Avio faced was the way the seats were attached – in last years version, they managed to demonstrate a unit that had poles that attached to the ceiling of the cabin – which does limit the line of sight in the cabin.
In this year’s version, they’ve managed to update the seat so it is floor mounted only. In addition, they’ve managed to fit a proper footrest in too – a welcome sight compared to the mock-up wooden carpeted footrest from last year.
The major challenge will be the egress in an emergency issue. Currently, squeezing anything less than 28” out of a seating pitch is seen to dismissed by the safety authorities. This is where the big issue will be, with the seat pitched at a mere 23”.
And the barriers could be big – especially as the rumbling of minimum seat sizes runs through the US.
The realistic chance of seeing this in the sky? Low.
During AIX, there was a lot of negative press about the seat (and yours truly joined in) with my initial thoughts.
Aviointeriors bring its Skyrider “seat” to @aix_expo and mainstream media picks it up ever year.
This is all the general public ends up seeing and it’s so damaging to the industry image. Actual innovation that improves the experience gets overshadowed by this crap. #AIX19 #PaxEx https://t.co/EpswCyPqps
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) April 4, 2019
— Kevin – Economy Class & Beyond (@EconomyBeyond) April 2, 2019
Yes, it will appeal to a thin segment of the budget-orientated passenger for the 1 to 2-hour segment who need to get there at the cheapest possible cost. Yes, it would fill out the maximum seat counts that an aircraft is rated to operate vs packing the plane to rafters.
The representative at Avio interiors told me it would take a brave airline to launch this – with the resources to back a certification campaign and deployment.
And for this seat to even near fly – that will be the missing thing.
Whilst an airline like Ryanair would like this concept to cram more seats on a plane the airline has a habit of habit for taking off the peg designs that have been certified for flight and proven in practice – rather than a custom design that could get bogged down in certification fights.
If Apple took “Courage” to remove the headphone jack in the iPhone (with the industry eventually following along to a point), it would take serious money and bravery to launch this seat on a plane.
And even today I’m struggling to see a case for it in the sky… let alone on the ground.
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