I'm Just Sayin': As if standing in line weren't bad enough

Our family will be flying back to the Midwest later this fall and I've been making plans for the trip. With traveling on my mind, a couple of recent articles caught my eye.

They were written about a new type of airline seat that a company from Italy was unveiling at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference in Long Beach. (Who knew there was a conference just about aircraft interiors?)

This new seat puts passengers in a semi-standing position and is described as a padded saddle, while some have compared it to a roller coaster seat. A representative of the company that makes them thought the seats could be used on flights up to three hours long and was quoted in USA Today as saying, "The seat...is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle."

What century is this man from? Cowboys on horseback for an eight-hour shift? My husband and I once took a two-hour horseback ride in Zion National Park and I vividly remember not being comfortable when we got off. As I recall, we both walked like penguins for the rest of the day.

Would anyone really want to sit/stand like they're on a roller coaster for three hours? Do you want to feel like you're on the Riddler's Revenge at Magic Mountain? I don't know about you, but I'd be expecting that big drop to happen at some time during the flight. It would make it a little hard to sit/stand back, relax and enjoy the flight, as the flight attendants always encourage us to do.

This new seat style would allow airlines to cram 40% more passengers onto their planes. The distance between the rows would be 23 inches instead of the roomy 31 to 35 inches we all now enjoy. Could you imagine folding a 6-foot man into one of these seats?

How would you like to be the passenger at the window and have to use the restroom? Forget about trying to hold an infant to avoid paying for an extra seat, since you won't have a lap for the child to sit on.

So far, the Federal Aviation Administration hasn't approved the seats and no airlines have bought them, but there was a lot of interest at the conference. One article said that they might appeal to the cheaper carriers.

They also reported that Ryanair, an airline based in Ireland, has already said that they might let passengers stand on their flights, if the Irish governing agency OKs it. Is GreyhoundAir far behind? Will the Metropolitan Transportation Authority start buying 747s?

All of this reminds me of something I once heard from President Ronald Reagan, who said, "I have to say that flying on Air Force One sort of spoils you for coach on a regular airline."

I wonder what he'd think today.

SHARON RAGHAVACHARY is on the steering committee for Crescenta Valley Community Assn. and a member of the Family Advisory Council for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. She may be reached at sharonchary@gmail.com.

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