Cowboys on airplanes
No doubt channeling Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, the Italian design firm Aviointeriors Group has created a new airline seat dubbed the “saddle.” Ride them skies! What makes this seat interesting is that an airline can fit more of them into a plane than they can ordinary seats.
Even on budget flights, the average legroom is about 30 inches. But the saddle seat allows only 23. I just measured from the backside of my sculpted self to my knee and it’s just under 26 inches. It’s true that I am a taller specimen than most, but I’m also a mathematician and my calculations show that it’s impossible to fit 26 inches into 23.
But that’s only if you sit so that your back makes a right angle with your legs, and if you face forward. Tilt the seat so that you’re more standing than sitting, and angle the seat toward the aisle, and the math turns into trigonometry, and thus it becomes possible for 26 to divide into 23.
Since the seat has the cattle—I mean passengers—standing as much as sitting, in order to keep kiesters from slipping out onto the floor, an athletic-supporter-like device—a prominent bump—is installed in the seat just forward of where a person’s crotch lands. This “saddle” pins the person into their seat.
Now comes the lying for a living part. Dominique Menoud, the boss of Aviointeriors, told USA Today “For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours … this would be comfortable seating…The seat … is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.” I wonder if Menoud’s mother knows he says such things in public?
Of course, the saddle seat wouldn’t fly in the USA, and not just because some bureaucrat would find exception. There’s just no way that some passengers can amble (perhaps mosey is a better word) from the food court to the jetway and then squeeze into that small space. Not without causalities, anyway.
The Italian slim-fitting saddle seats aren’t the worst of it. The story also reported that “last year, Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier in China, tried to get the OK from regulators to redesign its planes to accommodate some standing passengers.”
I would like this. Better to stand than to be folded unnaturally. Even on ordinary airlines, I try to get up as often as possible just to stretch to restore blood flow to forgotten limbs. Standing for an entire flight, especially on long routes, would be a joy. But only if one were allowed to amble (mosey) about the cabin.
This doesn’t seem likely: there are those overly concerned with other people’s safety who would insist on strapping passengers to their places. Since passengers are standing, the only way I can imagine this being done is by penning people in with a rope or harness, kind of like those used by some Enlightened parents—the kind that shop at cooperative groceries—who take their toddlers for walks.
Some Japanese hotels are built on the beehive principle. Tiny tubular rooms are stacked one upon another. Registrants—guests seems too strong a word—climb a ladder and then angle themselves into their cells, where they can only lay prone. I have stayed at one of these in Tokyo and can report that it wasn’t that bad. Mine even had a television and small sink.
Since the Japanese are the cleverest people on earth at making even the tiniest space feel large, I suggest their hotel innovation could be adapted to airplanes. Hexagonal cells with straps across their doorways could be used to replace seats. Now, even the spriest might become fidgety in such circumstance, so it would be best if passengers could be stunned for the duration of the flight, perhaps using some sort of knockout gas. Just think of what the airline would save on beverage service and toilet maintenance costs!
Of course, each flight with these cell-seats would resemble a science fiction movie where the human passengers are being transported to remote alien cooking kettles. A place where the “consumers” become the consumed. But that is the price we must be willing to pay to save money.
All of you who thought the title of today’s post thought it related to statisticians, please raise your hand? For shame!