Save a plane, ride a horse

Published 10:00 am Thursday, August 23, 2012

With my family still living in New York, when I go home I tend to “fly the friendly skies.”

Only nowadays those “friendly skies” have become ominous with security checks and extra fees for luggage.

I have to be honest, I loathe flying. In fact, I’d rather sprout wings and fly myself home rather than shuffle through security in my socks on a floor that has microorganisms only God knows about.

In some ways flying just feels unnatural. Is it really normal for humans to be crammed into a metal cylinder and basically be catapulted through the sky at 500 miles per hour? That combined with the astronomical fees associated with baggage, it seems the airline industry is only out there for the money and have complete disregard for serving those who fly with them.

Not convinced? Take a look at the SkyRider, new space saving airplane seats produced by Italian firm Aviointeriors. The seats were displayed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas in Long Beach, Calif. and have not been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The new seats are designed to allow airplanes to hold more passengers by way of reducing the space between rows to 23 inches. Normal seat pitch in most airlines’ economy class cabins is around 30-32 inches.

The shape of the SkyRider seat is likened to a saddle with the seat slanted forward and molded to hold a person’s lower body. Makers say the seat was created for shorter flights (up to three hours) and they pledge the seat is comfortable.

“Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle,” one SkyRider creator commented to CNN.

But the only problem is you’re not riding a horse, checking on a herd or stoking a fire at a campsite. You’re in a plane, one you paid money to be on. I’m sorry but if I want to take a horse ride, I’ll actually go and get on a horse.

Let’s face it, airplane seats are bad enough. You have to ask your seatmates to move when you have to use the bathroom and then you have the elbow wars over the arm of the seat. Isn’t it bad enough that you share the same air with the whole cabin? Call me selfish, but I don’t want to share a saddle either.

The real kicker is that the SkyRider’s creators say add another class of seats to planes. Look out for the cowboy class.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a staff writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.