SkyRider airplane seats lack legroom, resemble saddles

Think your economy class airplane seat is cramped? Well, imagine sitting on something that looks like the bastard child of a roller coaster seat and a horse saddle. That’s what Italian airline seat designer Aviointeriors has devised and hopes to unleash into the wild with their SkyRider model. With only 23″ of legroom and air carriers allegedly interested in someday creating a class below coach/economy, you could eventually find yourself perched precariously at 35,000 feet on your way home for the holidays.

The SkyRider’s creator insists that it is, in fact, a seat and not a way to trick standing passengers into thinking that they are not, in fact, still vertical. Before you go into a full-fledged panic though, it’s worth noting that these seats have many hurdles to jump before finding themselves inside airplanes.

An FAA spokesperson said, “While it’s not impossible, it’s difficult to conceive of a standing seat that would be able to meet all applicable FAA requirements and still be cost-effective.” See? We can all go back to complaining about baggage fees, lost luggage, jerks reclining their seats into your knees, expensive yet crappy airplane food, airplane bathroom sinks that make it impossible to wash both of your hands at the same time and everything else you hate about air travel.

For now, we can simply look at the pictures of these torture devices seats and wonder if that woman with the “I just farted” smile is about to take off or be probed.

Via Gizmodo & USA Today.

Check behind you before reclining your seat – Airplane tip

Airline space seems tighter than ever. Before you recline your seat, make sure you warn the passenger behind you.

Broken computer screens, spilled drinks and bruised knees are just a few of the hazards of what is supposed to be a relaxing seat position. Done properly, the seat will recline without slamming your back against it.

If you decide to nap, don’t turn it into a bed. Rolling over in your seat or shifting positions abruptly while the seat is reclined will launch anything on the tray table behind you.

Be aware — and be courteous!

Galley Gossip: Switching seats, exit row safety & asking for upgrades

Recently on a flight a passenger took the empty seat beside me. He had an assigned seat that he left behind. If by luck of the draw I had an empty seat (true not paid for), then it seems to me that as a beneficiary of said luck that I have inherited certain rights. If the other guy had stayed in his OWN seat, I would have had the enjoyment of more space. His moving AFFECTED me. The only reason I point this out is because while my situation was benign, I know that sometimes these little irritations or frictions on flights escalate into real on board conflicts (fights), and while I am describing out a pretty subtle point here, I think that it is better for the flight crew to mediate between passengers using preventive practices (etiquette, courtesies, “rules” etc.) rather than letting passengers resolve them themselves, in those cases where we are dealing with seat assignments at least. – Trevor

I’m going to tell you what 90% of the flight attendants I know would say. You paid for a seat. One seat. Not two seats. Not an entire row. Just a single seat. So if a passenger wants to switch seats, that’s okay. The passenger is allowed to sit in “your” row. While at my airline passengers are free to move to any open seat available in their ticketed cabin, other airlines (regional carriers dealing with weight and balance issues and airlines who charge extra for certain seats in the same cabin), require passengers to ask a flight attendant before swapping seats. If the flight attendant says it’s okay, it’s okay, the passenger can move.

Just because you were lucky enough to to score an entire row to yourself does not mean you have “inherited certain rights.” Oh sure it’s annoying when someone who already has a seat invades your space, but imagine you are the one stuck in an undesirable seat and there are two open seats in the row behind you, wouldn’t you move? Should a passenger have to suffer just because someone else is the “beneficiary of said luck” when there is plenty of room for both passengers to stretch out and relax?

In the future, if you’d rather not sit next to anyone, try making your row a little less appealing. The most popular seat on the airplane is the aisle seat. Take it! Otherwise someone will plop down beside you. Then, after takeoff, spread out. Pull the tray table down and place something on top of it. Put a bag, coat, or book in the seat beside you. Pretend to sleep. Not many people are ballsy enough to wake a sleeping passenger. Try traveling with a packet of Kleenex. No one wants to sit next to the sick guy. Or better yet, travel with a child. Works for me. Passengers avoid kids like the plague. That said, if someone still wants to sit in your row, they can. So be prepared to move your things out of the way.Airlines are charging for exit row seats and I have been on two flights where they have remained empty and flight attendants required payment from passengers who requested to switch to them. My question is what happens in case of an emergency landing? Do you think it is safer to have an able bodied person willing to open the door sitting there? I can visualize pandemonium as people rush to the door. I think gate agents or flight attendants should be able to offer these seats to qualified passengers! – Laura

While it makes sense to have willing and able bodied passengers who meet the exit row criteria seated in an exit row in case of an emergency evacuation opposed to leaving those seats vacant, FAA does not deem it necessary. I could tell you why I think this is, but it doesn’t matter what I think, or what you think for that matter. It is what it is. My question to you is, if flight attendants and agents working for an airline charging an extra fee for the exit row could move passengers to the vacant seats for free, how would they determine which lucky passengers to choose without creating the same type of pandemonium? With all that leg room, the exit row is the most sought after row on the airplane! That said, I understand why some airlines, mostly discount carriers, are charging the extra fee. They have to stay in business somehow!

At my airline we do not charge a fee for the exit row, but our ticket prices are higher than most discount carriers and the exit row is often blocked just for frequent fliers. Nine times out of ten the most elite frequent fliers occupy the exit row and bulkhead seats. So while my airline isn’t charging a fee for the row, they are asking for something even more – passenger loyalty. It comes in the form of miles. So what’s worse, an airline charging a small price to anyone willing to pay for the extra space, or an airline who only rewards a select few? Wouldn’t you rather be able to purchase the seat than not even have a shot at it?

This summer my husband and I will be traveling internationally. (New York to Warsaw) We have never asked for an upgrade to first class. If the agent says there are seats available, is there a charge? Or just willingness to fill a few seats? Additionally, what is the “polite” way to request an upgrade? – Lecia

While it never hurts to ask, it’s highly unlikely you will get an upgrade to first class free of charge. Not with airlines losing money the way they are these days. Because so many people travel often, it’s unfair to upgrade one group of passengers over another without going through the proper procedures. Trust me, passengers are keeping tabs. If an agent were to upgrade a passenger for free, rest assured that agent would hear about it in the form of a complaint letter from another passenger who also wanted an upgrade. For an airline employee, upgrading passengers for free is not worth losing a job over. Remember passengers are miserable, flights are full, and agents are under a lot of pressure to get airplanes out on time, so if you decide to give it a shot, be polite, friendly, and honest about what you want. Agents have heard it all, every story in the book, from pregnancy to bad backs. An honest approach will only work to your advantage. Whatever you do, do not hover over an agent. That will only work against you. Simply wait until the agent has a free moment to ask your question, and then, after your request has been made, step away from the desk. The last thing an agent needs is added stress.

Photos courtesy of Matt Sidesinger and Rnair

Get an empty seat next to you – Airplane tip

Here’s your best shot at getting that coveted empty seat.

  1. Book a seat close to the back of the plane. Most airlines and bookers fill the seats at the front of the plane first, leaving more empty space in the back.
  2. Don’t choose the last row, though, as often times these seats don’t recline.
  3. Don’t choose an exit row seat (these tend to fill up) or a row of three that’s completely empty (lots of people travel in pairs).
  4. Finally, make sure to re-checkin at the airport kiosk to see if any more desirable spaces have opened up.

Have fun spreading out!

Evolution of travel complaints: TSA just the latest target

This week saw the vitriol of travelers (and travel writers) directed at the TSA. The new TSA regulations that were imposed in light of the terrorist attempt on a Northwest Airlines flight led many to unleash the proverbial hounds and attack both the TSA and Department of Homeland Security with great fervor. It became quite fashionable (and deservedly so) to use blogs and Twitter to mock the TSA’s plans for keeping us safe.

However, this hysteria is not new in the travel community. Travelers have a long history of finding a target for their angst and attacking it like cat on a Roomba. The TSA is just the latest object of travelers’ derision. There were others before it and there will be others after it.

Let’s take a look back at travel complaints through history.God – The Garden of Eden was the original all-inclusive resort. Despite the absence of a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policy, the Almighty actually had pretty stringent rules. While there was a veritable buffet for Adam and Eve, apples were off limits. The first guests to violate this policy were removed from the property and led management to blacklist all human visitors. Is that species profiling? Sure seems like it.

Christianity vs. Islam – Europeans have always enjoyed traveling. However, their motives for getting out and about during the Crusades were pretty shady.

India – Christopher Columbus never forgave India for not being in the Americas. Annual parades have yet to appease him.

Lack of produce – Scurvy was no joke back in the day. Now it’s a pretty good joke anytime someone offers you an orange.

Babies – They cry. They kick the back of your seat. They have little comprehension of the expletives that you’re shouting at their mothers.

People who recline their seats – I am one of these people. I make no apologies to anyone.

Airline food – Did you hear that airline food is gross? Yeah, so did every comedian in the 1990s.

Travelers vs. Tourists – The travelers vs. tourists debate is an epic one pitting blowhards against windbags. It has, however, kept the soapbox industry in business.

Cruises – When you’re the cause of a Twitter hashtag getting hijacked, you’ve officially made it as a preeminent target for travel complaints.

TSA – They’ve been accused of racial profiling, enforcing their policies arbitrarily and reacting to incidents with asinine updates to their rules. This latest episode is practically old hat for them. A hat that must be removed during the screening process, of course.

So, what’s my point here? At the end of the day, travelers will always find something about which to complain. Sometimes it will be justified while other times it will simply be a matter of opinion. People will always enjoy pointing fingers, making judgments and mounting their high horses.

But I think we can all agree that people who wear socks with sandals are just plain wrong.

Photo by Flickr user Aardvark of Fnord.