Skip to content

An iPad With a Cup Holder


Chris Gash/New York Times

Airline company’s have pulled back amenities like checked bags and snacks, added fees for those amenities, then offered those same amenities as “perks” for using the airlines own-brand of credit card. How’s that for customer service?

Charging for checked bags has created a greediness for overhead space, delayed boarding and tested more than a few tempers. For many passengers it seems like the airlines have pushed all buttons of logic and service. Not so!

Now the airlines are considering another humiliating piece to the air travel experience – SMALLER PASSENGER SEATS! Avioninteriors S.p.A., of Italy, unveiled it’s “SkyRider” passenger seat. It’s sort of horse saddle with arm rests that has the passenger in a half standing, half seated crouch. The SkyRider enables airlines to reduce the current leg room in coach from 32″ to 23″ – and pack in 30% more passengers.

My…this is comfy!

So where do all those extra passengers stow their bags overhead? Oh, I know, the airlines will then restrict the size of carry on bags to small purses.

No more briefcases, laptops or wheeled anything will be carried on.

An iPad will be the only device you’ll have room to use…and it doubles as a service tray.

I’m working on blueprints for producing the “iCup” – a clip-on cup holder for iPads that’ll surely be a big hit once these awful seats find their way onto a flight you’re on soon.

Enjoy the friendly skies…and you might want to hit the gym to shed a few pounds before your next flight. Something tells me airfares may soon be driven by passenger weight.

66 Comments leave one →
  1. bradenbost permalink
    09/24/2010 10:27 am

    Grrrr . . . airlines make me so mad. I’d heard about those seats on the radio, but that photo is the first picture of them I’ve seen. Certain important parts of my body hurt just by looking at them.

    Allow me to offer some positive information in the same area: I have several friends who work for Boeing, and not too long ago I was making fun of them for YET AGAIN delaying the super-hyped 787 Dreamliner. One of my friends began to explain to me that many of the features the plane has aren’t just in the area of aviation technology. One of them is that the plane has been designed so that airlines CANNOT INCREASE SEATING CAPACITY. The planes are designed to very specifically allow for only a certain amount of seats in them. At least someone in the industry is fighting for us.

  2. 09/24/2010 10:56 am

    Hi Rick, great post! Wow, and we all thought we’ve seen the worst on planes these days. I focus on brand strategy, and I’m always fascinated by the US airline experience that’s getting from bad to worst, with ZERO brand experience. The explosive growth of LCC’s (budget airlines) the world over has meant that there’s virtually no marked difference between full-service airlines (what are those again? …. Flying the Friendly Skies?….) and LCC’s. European airlines aren’t far behind, and the only bright spot – where more thought is being put into airline branding – seems to be Asia!

    Your post brings forward a sad reality that we’ll continue to be squeezed into planes like sardines, akin to a bus that just happens to take off, powered by jet engines.

    I’m definitely reposting your story! Thanks!
    ciao, dian
    san diego

  3. 09/24/2010 11:38 am

    Just the photo of the Sky Rider makes me claustrophobic. What’s next, the “Sky Bronco,” in which they strap passengers to the wings and velcro little bags of pretzels to them?

    • 09/24/2010 12:14 pm

      Yes, and you’ll be forced to hang on for dear life. Eight seconds indeed!

    • 09/24/2010 1:55 pm

      hahahaha!!! what a visual!

    • dianhasan permalink
      09/24/2010 2:00 pm

      Hi lifeintheboomerlane,
      What’s next? I’m guessing “passengers lying down” and packed sideways, all.. ways… like cramped sardines in a can. Think of it as the sleeping compartments on trains from the 1950s!! That’s my wildest guess!! ha.. ha..
      BTW, I reposted Rick’s post in my blog on Innovation and Brand Strategy:

    • 09/25/2010 10:25 am

      Mamma Mia! Strapped to the wing with a bag of Pretzels attached… what’ll happen if you fly Ryanair? You’ll pay for the pretzels: but at least you won’t have to pay to use the bathroom…..

      Anyway I suspect the next stage is that planes will simply be radio-controlled from the ground.

      What does strike me as strange is that you are limited to a specific baggage allowance BUT if you buy 8 stuffed elephants and an industrial quantity of alcohol airside that’s fine…….

    • Twitchdoctor permalink
      09/26/2010 2:27 pm

      Well, at least this would ensure that I at least got a bag of pretzels on my flight. Clearly that particular cost cut hasn’t reached your part of the world yet!

  4. 09/24/2010 11:47 am

    If the attempts to cut costs had not reached the limit of the sane before, they have now. As flying has moved from a luxury to an everyday and every wallet market, it is only natural that some streamlining is made, e.g. that free meals disappear; however, somewhere a balance between reasonable travelling conditions and cost-saving must be found—and, if anything, it is high time to increase the leg space.

    I actually fear that there is a bit of a hidden agenda present: Make travel conditions sufficiently poor in economy class and more people will be motivated to buy more expensive tickets for the sole purposes of getting a reasonable standard. This type of artificial price segmentation is, unfortunately, quite common. The most notable example is the hard-cover book, which is sold at an earlier date and at a disproportionally higher price than the pocket book. In effect, the customer pays for the priviledge of reading the book earlier, while the format difference is mostly a smoke-screen.

    Of course, we have to be grateful that we do not have to ride on an Indian bus…

  5. 09/24/2010 12:07 pm

    Are there people so desperate to fly that they actually tolerate such stupidity? she screeches and hobbles (as rapidly as her stubby legs will carry her) back home to hide in the closet until sanity asserts itself.

    • caelynreynolds permalink
      09/24/2010 11:24 pm

      That’s kind of how I felt about it, but I didn’t have a visual quite as great as that one. I salute you.

  6. 09/24/2010 12:16 pm

    This is the exact set up of one of my favourite rollercoasters ever…the “stand up”. The only thing missing here is the overhead brace so you don’t fall out the top. I suppose the next cost saving device will be to remove the roof of the place for that convertible feel? Skis instead of landing gear?

  7. 09/24/2010 12:36 pm

    Haha this is FANTASTIC. And so true – made me laugh. A: because you are funny B: because if you don’t laugh you get angry. I heard a rumor that Easyjet were contemplating on charging to use the toilet. WHAT? Flights aren’t cheap – sometimes you can get cheap flights yes, but as soon as they start adding on taxes and whatnot…

    Thanks for this. Keep blogging!


  8. 09/24/2010 1:00 pm

    haha. look at the terror on their faces (in the photo).. despite the fact that this is just in an exhibition.. lol..

  9. 09/24/2010 2:40 pm

    Interesting post and creepy picture. Airlines just continue to get more clever.

  10. 09/24/2010 2:41 pm

    Great post and I sure hope those are only to be used on flights less than an hour-ouch! If those saddle seats become available, looks like I’ll either miss out on much of the world or pay an exorbitant amount of $$ to fly. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! LB

  11. 09/24/2010 2:51 pm

    With the price of gas going up, this will happen all over the place.
    May be it’s time to start building hybrid or electric planes?

  12. 09/24/2010 2:54 pm

    Not a great example of building a relationship with the customer. Customers become commodities… esp if they start the weigh in! Or is this the new class divide- literally with the curtain in between……………

  13. blackwatertown permalink
    09/24/2010 3:43 pm

    A terrible prospect.
    Like your idea of the iPad doubling up as the meal tray. Very good.

  14. 09/24/2010 4:26 pm

    Nice Post! I really think your idea regarding the ipod holder is neat.

  15. The Perfectly Imperfect One permalink
    09/24/2010 5:35 pm

    Seriously? That is so irritating. I am glad I don’t fly all that often, I would rather drive anywhere I have to go. At least then I know I will be able to take everything I want and have plenty of leg room!

  16. 09/24/2010 5:37 pm

    I abhor flying. Not because I’m scared to fly but because of the absolutely horrible customer service.

    Not to mention, the airlines are cutting budgets and one of the budget items to be cut is preventative maintenance. For example, this is why your flight that was supposed to leave at 6PM doesn’t leave until well after midnight because they had to fly in an APU from Chicago.

    It makes one wonder what ELSE they neglected to maintain. When aircraft start falling out of the sky, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

  17. Abigail permalink
    09/24/2010 6:06 pm

    You know what my negative side tells me? That any plane that decides to put this seat in will soon be charging regular fares for those seats, and then higher fares for the current seats, and then extra high prices for first class. O.o. Anyway, you haven’t completely thought through your icup idea, since they’ll be charging you two fees: one for the ipad, and one for the icup.

  18. 09/24/2010 7:14 pm

    I’d rather take a my little car anywhere… I prefer to pack it to the gills, throw my fast food trash on the floor of the backseat, and crank the music up really loud. Now, if only there was a car I could use to drive across the ocean…

  19. 09/24/2010 8:35 pm

    I can’t imagine how you can stand up and walk after sitting like that for a few hours (referring to the photo on the right).

  20. 09/24/2010 9:56 pm

    As if airplanes weren’t already enough of a hassle, having to share my arm rest with the coughing, sick, sweating man who has to get up every ten mins to pee with my luck. Thank god I already have my germ free iPad to use as I “squat” on my plane ride, maybe I’ll be lucky enough for a window seat. Hoping I don’t have to fetch something out of my tightly fit purse. Lovely read, hopefully airplanes won’t go this far to save their bucks!

  21. quiescentambivalence permalink
    09/25/2010 12:55 am

    One word classifies the “SkyRider” in my mind: BULLSHIT

  22. 09/25/2010 5:00 am

    That looks less comfortable than most toilets

  23. kingdiz55 permalink
    09/25/2010 7:44 am

    Me, my parents and other family members flew on a budget airline and the seats were quite cramped. It was almost to the point where it seemed to be right in my face. That’s the sacrifice you’re making if you’re willing to get from Manila to Hong Kong with about $50 including taxes. Camping more passengers into planes would result in slower turn times which would be another passenger headache.

  24. 09/25/2010 8:12 am

    Woah…. say it isn’t so. Who could survive a flight in that position? I imagine the landing crew would have can openers and toothpicks to extract the packed, yes? Lord help us!

    I prefer to think about the cup holder idea 🙂 Link Apple and let them know what you’re thinking! While you’re at it, do see what you can come up with as an alternative to flying … or at least the scenery while we’re up there 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!


  25. 09/25/2010 9:05 am

    what the hell. i most definitely don’t like the idea of an eight our flight in 23″

  26. 09/25/2010 9:08 am

    Do thay charges $25 for the bathroom too.

  27. 09/25/2010 11:32 am

    I am now on a mission to buy my own small aircraft……cause no ways am I going to feel comfortable in one of those thingummies you just mentioned.

  28. 09/25/2010 12:27 pm

    Just looking at the pictures makes me feel a little claustrophobic. I know the airlines are trying to make more money by incorporating more seats for people to sit at. But, at what cost? When do people’s comfort fall into place. I guess the airlines want you to fly ‘First Class’ if you want room!

    Oh, and about your iCup idea…I think someone has already taken that idea!

    Just another idea! iCup = Urine tests! Lol, thought that was pretty funny! Thanks for your input on this matter!
    Spoiled Egg’s Blog

    • 09/25/2010 12:48 pm

      The concept is still in works…even if a work-around name has to be developed. Perhaps “iSip” might work?

  29. 09/25/2010 12:40 pm

    Thank God my husband and I drive so many places. We live in AZ and just now are going to drive to CA for a cruise instead of fly. I hate flying. I have heard of these saddle like seats! What?! Are they serious?! We the people should NOT take it! That’s a disgrace! It can’t be good for you! It’s OK If you are riding a horse, there is a reason for it!! This world is getting really weird and we are just sitting by letting these companies take our money and letting them DISRESPECT us! It’s AWFUL! I will never fly like that! Yuck!

  30. pritam permalink
    09/25/2010 1:24 pm


  31. 09/25/2010 1:44 pm

    Great post! Sadly, I think I would rather spend countless hours driving to my destination, than spend a couple of hours in one of those seats. They say these would only be placed in planes used in short range service, but ones they get installed, the airlines will figure out a system to use them in longer routes.

    Honestly, I see these seats doing just the opposite for the airlines. Once people experience the indignation of “squatting” for three hours, they will probably scale way back on their flying.

  32. 09/25/2010 2:00 pm

    Two words for you: stop flying.

  33. 09/25/2010 3:25 pm

    I think it’s apparent that the airlines don’t really care about passenger comfort. It seems as if their goal is to pack as many people into the airplane as possible to save money. Soon you’ll be seeing airlines carrying chickens and cargo crates in the main cabin (think Indiana Jones or any other movie where the main characters must navigate their way to a third world country). Now that I think about it, they seemed to have a lot more leg and carry-on room on those flights. Hmm, maybe I’m onto something here. Maybe UPS should start allowing passengers on their flights.

  34. 09/25/2010 3:38 pm

    It’s so true! Great post and well writen.

  35. sayitinasong permalink
    09/25/2010 4:47 pm

    The skyrider seats look absolutely horrible to me. I know the airlines are suffering and they need to make more money- but honestly, flying in economy now is torture most of the time… who wants to sit 2 hours- basically on a saddle… I can see Ryanair trying to roll this one out…but don’t think… (hope!) most other airlines to follow suit… bring back good old train travel, I say….

  36. 09/25/2010 8:31 pm

    It looks like a crappy roller-coaster I went on while at King’s Dominion, and that, my friends, was not something you do twice.
    But the iCup, have you ever heard the play-yard joke? I-C-U-P? Aah, I laughed a lot more than I should’ve at that!

    Honestly, companies are getting so greedy these days, but an ITALIAN airlines is the last airline I’d expect to downgrade, what is this world coming to?

  37. 09/26/2010 10:20 am

    That photo of the SkyRider is just hilarious! 😀

  38. soflodoug permalink
    09/26/2010 12:52 pm

    I can only say one thing. If I stepped onto an airplane and they expected me to sit on those seats, I would turn around and walk off the plane immediately and demand a refund.
    How dare they even think something like this!
    I am also disappointed as many issues in this new and troublesome society that something like this would even be considered and actually displayed in a trade show somewhere as it appears in the photo.
    Other foreign airlines have new jets and better service. Flying on these american airlines is getting like trashcan flying. I personally will never set foot on american airlines as in my experience 2 times there was some sort of noise and vibration on the flights and an employee from aa told me she would not fly on them.
    I had a return leg of a flight and I called american and said im not coming enjoy the money.
    Really, people need to stand up for their standards. I say let the foreign airlines operate in the national markets as I didnt need the insane stress of a possibly in need of repair plane flying me 35,ooo ft at 500 miles and hour. Id rather walk!

  39. 09/26/2010 3:18 pm

    Airlines these days…as the daughter of a Delta Skymiles ‘Frequent Flier’ father who travels a lot, I have a first-hand experience with how terrible flights can be. If they ‘upgrade’ the planes, I’d like to see some brave souls venture on a fourteen hour flight to China while having to sit–no, that’s not even a proper sitting position–/squat/ like you do with some toilets in China. I think air travel is an amazing thing, really–taking to the skies–but at least make your passengers comfortable.

  40. 09/26/2010 6:34 pm

    I honestly believe there are a lot of airlines who have great customer service and comfy seats.

    But I can’t deny those seats are just TERRIBLE!!!!!!! the meaning of “comfortable” must have slipped off their minds or is it just too much jet lag?

  41. 09/27/2010 1:15 am

    what’s a cup holder? what is it can be used for? what’s the relationships beteween it and airline?

  42. 09/27/2010 1:36 am

    Thanks! The picture is one of my favourites.

    I checked out your blog. Looking forward to reading some more posts.

  43. 09/27/2010 8:42 am

    This is ridiculous! How can they expect people to sit like that, if you can even call that sitting? This whole air travel thing is out of control. But I do like the idea of an iPad cup holder. Go for it!

  44. 09/27/2010 9:10 am

    Going home to visit family is a two day drive w/ hotel room or a half a day travel by plane. Cost is about the same. If I have to sit in those seats, I’ll sacrifice the extra time with family and start driving again.

  45. 09/27/2010 9:19 am

    OMG, is this really true? That’s awful! How can they possibly do that?

  46. 09/27/2010 12:46 pm

    Those seats look very and I mean very uncomfortable. I could not even imagine. Count me out. I wonder if they are changing business/first class at all.

  47. 09/28/2010 11:58 am

    I just flew on a plane about a few days ago and you are absolutely right, it is a madhouse flying. We don’t get little snacks, you can pay for it, but with credit, not cash, and for an arm and a leg at that. There’s no space to put your stuff and this new seat just looks terrifying, that is something I would never fly in.

  48. 10/01/2010 11:39 pm

    are you serious? i really hope you’re joking about the cup holder clip on. the iPad is a joke and you wouldnt sell many iCups because nobody has them. maybe just saying the iPad serves as a dinner tray would be a more correct statement.


  1. Future Trends | Airline seats will get even smaller… YIKES!! « IDEAS INSPIRING INNOVATION
  2. Tweets that mention An iPad With a Cup Holder « ThoughtTech – On The Horizon --
  3. Expanding Skies for One « Duffy's Repair Blog
  4. Freshly (de)Pressed « ThoughtTech – On The Horizon
  5. Your Laptop Is Bad For Your Lap « ThoughtTech – On The Horizon
  6. Stick To “It” in 2011 « ThoughtTech – On The Horizon
  7. Higher Fares For Fat Flyers? « ThoughtTech – On The Horizon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: