Seat wars by Melanie Mahoney
By Melanie Mahoney
Flying brings its own unique challenges. The drying air, the elbow-room wars, the bottles of wine so tiny you have to ask for a new one every 15 minutes… ah, good times.
But there are some fantastic things too. Top of the list is being upgraded, but that’s more urban legend than anything that would ever actually happen to you. Next up? When you’re on a long distance flight and the plane isn’t full, allowing you to stretch out across a row of seats. Sure, the seatbelt bits kinda hurt, and if you’re tall, you have to crunch up so your feet don’t get rammed by every passing hostie and passenger sleepwalking to the loos, but that extra lolling space is great.
Now Air New Zealand has monetised that lolling space. They’ve revealed Skycouches, aka ‘cuddle class’ – three seats in a row that can be converted into a flat space – perfect for couples or just those who want a good lie down. Passengers travelling in pairs can book the third seat for half price.
That’s pretty much the opposite of Ryanair’s ‘vertical seating’ plan. The idea is that passengers will be able to get bargain flights – just $7-$14 for flights of about an hour or so – as long as they’ll stand up for the trip. To add to the excitement, these passengers will also have to pay to go to the toilet.
Lastly, there are Skyrider seats, designed for a US carrier. These seats are curved like a saddle and make passengers sit at a forward angle so their legs can tuck under the seat in front. Passengers will lose 18cm of legroom, but of course the saddles will be cheaper than the average seat. They’ll also only be offered on flights that last up to 3 hours, so you won’t arrive at your destination walking like an old-school cowboy (well, in theory anyway).
So what do you reckon? Would you pony up the extra cash for a cuddle couch, or would you be happy to stand – or sit in a saddle – if you’ll have more cash to spend at the other end?