Saddle up: world's smallest airline seat unveiled

If you find economy class seats too cramped for comfort, we have bad news: they may be about to get even smaller.

Italian airline seat and interiors manufacturer Aviointeriors has designed a saddle-like seat with just 23 inches of seat pitch (the space between seats) – significantly smaller than the average 32 inches in economy class. Even the highest-density airline seating normally offers 28 inches of seat pitch.

Aviointeriors says its design, named the 'SkyRider', is for an ultra-high density seat designed and engineered to offer the possibility to “further reduce ticket prices” through the creation of a new basic class – below economy.

The seats would allow more passengers to be crammed into aircraft. The design also allows for partial overlapping of seating between rows, allowing even more seats to fit in.

Aviointeriors says the passenger's seating position is “similar to that of a touring motor-scooter rider”.

It says the seats have been engineered and have reached the stage of final testing.

The seats were being unveiled at Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas 2010 in Long Beach, California this week.

The announcement comes as low-cost airlines continue to seek ways to increase profits by adding ancillary charges and increasing the number of passengers they can fly on aircraft.

In July, Ryanair raised the prospect of 'vertical seating' – a proposal that would see the back 10 rows of its short-haul aircraft converted to standing room space.

In Australia, Tiger Airways' managing director Crawford Rix has said he would consider all options to keep fares low, including vertical seating.

Photos: Smallest airline seat ever

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