China's Spring Airlines Considers Installing Vertical Seats

Can't stand flying? Try flying standing! Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines has shown interest in SkyRider - semi-standing, saddle-style “vertical seats” that will allow the budget carrier to increase capacity by up to 40 percent.

At least you won't have to worry about the inconsiderate slob in front of you suddenly reclining his or her set into your kneecaps – the fiendishly efficient SkyRider seats don't recline.

Skyrider is the brainchild of Italian manufacturer Aviointeriors, who introduced the concept at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas two years ago. The seats force passengers to bear a portion of their weight on their legs which in turn rest against the seatback directly ahead. Instead of spanning the hips, seatbelts restrain the shoulders and upper body.

All this engineering will allow for a pitch (the distance between a point on one seat and the same point on the seats ahead or behind) of only 23 inches. To put this figure in perspective, consider that the current seat pitch at Easy Jet is 29 inches, much-maligned Ryanair offers 30 inches, and Southwest rates a comparatively luxurious 32 inches.

Ryanair is currently negotiating with jet manufacturer Boeing on ways to adapt Ryanair's fleet to include banks of SkyRider seats, and they're not sugarcoating the idea.

“We are looking at introducing vertical seats on our flights, which can best be described as bar stools,” stated a Ryanair spokesman in response to a query from TravelMail “The passenger will be fully supported and of course we will fully comply with any safety regulations.” Of course!

Ryanair is – once again – taking a beating in the media over yet another cost-cutting measure, this one on top of plans put forth to institute a “fat tax” on overweight passengers and charge for use of the in-flight lavatory. On the bright side, SkyRider seats are intended for use on short-haul flights of less than 2 hours in duration... for now, anyway. Oh, and speaking of the potential lavatory charges, not to worry: Ryanair wants to remove the rear pair to make room for more SkyRider seats. Can't pay for what they don't have, amiright?

As far as SkyRider goes, however, let the record state that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary (above, left) first heard about SkyRider seats from privately-owned Spring Airlines, after Spring's head honchos made their plans to employ the concept public. So now we're taking a page from China's transportation manual? This should end well. (via Aviation Geeks, Daily Mail UK, and Mail Online)