This headline at inc.com made my blood run cold: These Horrifying New Airline Seats Are Designed To Cut Legroom By Huge Amounts. The title itself was frightening but when I clicked the link, I was privy to a horror show about a possible future of airline travel with an impossible seat.
Scariest experience since watching horror movie The Ring – until you realise how ridiculous it is that everyone dies with their jaw seemingly dislocated from screaming like little girls. That said, if you put me in one of these leg-room cutting airline seats for very long, I’ll probably leave the plane with The Ring face.
So how bad are these new seats? Check out this link to see a photo and watch a video, but be ready to scream in terror.
Yeah, those seats are pretty terrible. They’re described as saddle seats by the sadists who designed them. Basically, they resemble a bike seat. A bike seat. A seat designed for the rapid unobstructed movement of one’s legs to peddle. A bike seat. A seat so comfortable that bikers shorts routinely come equipped with extra bum padding. Imagine straddling a bike seat for that fun 16-hour flight to New York City. Kiss your genitals goodbye.
The bike seat isn’t the worst part. The seats are harshly upright meaning the passenger sits at a strict 90° angle. And by getting rid of the seat cushion and using a small saddle seat, the seat in front of the passenger can be installed even closer. How close?
If you watch the video, the seat back is practically in the passengers face. Which I guess can save money on the in-flight entertainment system because at that range you could have a 5cm screen and because it’s right in your face, you’ll be able to see everything in detail. Fun.
Why would airlines even consider a seat like this? Space. Because in air travel space means money. The more passengers are crammed into that flying metal tube, the more money they make.
The Genital Destroying Saddle Seat (not the actual name, just a name I’m throwing out there in hopes they use it) cuts down the amount of space needed for each passenger from 73cm-80cm to a paltry 58cm. Which – wait a second – you mean on flights right now I’ve only got about 76cm to sit in? And they want to take away about 25% of that?
The 73cm to 80cm is interesting because I’m assuming budget airlines would run with 73cm while bigger airlines would afford their passengers the extra 7cm, and from experience that 7cm is the difference between being able to stretch my legs under the seat or sitting with my knees pressed into the seat back in front of me (and digging into the back of the unfortunate passenger sitting there).
I’m about to make that screaming face from The Ring thinking about what happens when you cut things down to 58cm.
The airline business is famously tough to make a profit in. A 2014 study noted that airlines only make US$5.42 (RM21) per passenger. So I can understand why the Saddle Seats With Free Neutering (another name I’m just throwing out there) are enticing for airlines to consider. Let’s look at how many passengers would be added by using saddle seats:
Using Seatguru.com to check out the layout of an Emirates A380-800 airplane shows around 45 rows with an average of eight seats in each row. Assuming Emirates spoils its passengers with 80cm of prime real estate, that puts the total length of passenger seating at about 36m.
Now, if you divide that space by the 58cm the Self Castrating Saddle Seat (again, just tossing that name out there) will use, that means now there are 62 rows, or an increase in roughly 136 passengers – which means an increase in profit of approximately US$737 (RM2,800) per flight.
I understand the profit motive. But to make an extra seven hundred bucks per flight, might I suggest to any airline executive reading this, just charge the 399 poor souls in economy in an A380 an extra US$1.84 (RM700) and spare everyone the saddle seats.
Our crotches will thank you.