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Stand-Up Airplane Seats, in the News Again, Will Likely Never Fly

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Don't get too excited (or angry, exasperated, what have you) about all the blog posts today about stand-up seats in airplanes. Everyone is riffing on today's USA Today article about the proposed Skyrider seats from an Italian design company called Aviointeriors. The goal of these seats? To cram as many passengers into planes as possible. But there's no news here. The company actually announced their intention to create such seats back in July, right around the time I wrote about plans by low-budget Ryanair to install similar seats in their planes if they could get government approval.

Yeah, probably not gonna happen for a number of reasons, not least of all seething, frothing-at-the-mouth passenger outrage.

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Technically not stand-up seats (passengers would feel more like they were sitting on a motor scooter, says the company), the Skyrider seats offer only 23 inches of pitch, or what most people call legroom. Or, in this case, lack of legroom.

The USA Today article quotes FAA spokesman Les Dorr, who said, "While it's not impossible, it's difficult to conceive of a standing seat that would be able to meet all applicable FAA requiremens and still be cost-effective." Last July, when this issue first became news, the BBC quoted a spokesman for aircraft manufacturer Boeing, who said such seats would have to be capable of withstanding a force of 16 G's, which would "pretty much preclude such an arrangement." Moreover, federal and international safety standards regulate the maximum passenger capacity of aircraft, not airline avarice.

So why all the fuss now? Aviointeriors is planning to demonstrate the Skyrider seats at next week's Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference in Long Beach, California, and wanted to get a little publicity in advance. Unfortunately, they did.

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Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.

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