Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Buried Alive in the Friendly Skies

As I feared back in 2006, we are slowly morphing into the kind of society that no longer limits torture to those it marginalizes as criminals; now torture is for everyone who fits the appropriate economic profile:
Long rumored and joked about, the so-called stand-up airplane seat has now emerged from the imagination, the drawing board and the factory and into the bright lights. The SkyRider introduction was easily the most talked about event of the trade show...

What is the SkyRider like? Well, it’s a tight fit. You sidle in and perch on a little pitched seat. The “passenger’s body,” as Aviointeriors describes it, assumes “a comfortable, dynamic, upright and healthy position.” Honestly, that is what the promotional material says. My impression was more like being strapped tightly into an amusement park thrill ride.

Even in a semistanding position, belted in against a tall seat back, you have scant room to maneuver your arms, front or side. And because the seats are high, you would have a tough job in a crash vaulting over the SkyRider in front.

Aviointeriors says the SkyRider has undergone extensive testing and will be able to meet all regulatory safety standards. The seat is being promoted as an option for airlines that might want to more profitably use space in any given airplane, say for opening up room in front for more lucrative premium-class seats.
I guess this is what passes for The American Dream these days: trading interment in a open coffin where your only option is to fold up like a fetus, in exchange for "rock-bottom prices".

Well, at least they are trying to pretend these are seats. Maybe the spineboard they originally floated was an affront even to parasthetic American morality.