Meet the World's Most-Cramped Airplane Seat

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Even if the seats do pass regulatory hurdles, they could turn into a public relations nightmare for any airline.

Anne Banas, executive editor of travel Web site SmarterTravel, hasn't tried the seats but has her doubts about the comfort and safety.

"With a 23-inch seat pitch, they aren't going to fly for anyone who is remotely claustrophobic or hates to be crowded," Banas said. "I don't think that most airlines, aside from maybe Ryanair or Spirit, would even consider them, so consumers will still have some choice when it comes to comfort, or what little comfort is still available on airplanes these days."

That said, for short-haul flights, some passengers might be willing to pay rock-bottom prices. Think of a plane with first class, economy and then super-saver seats.

Irish carrier Ryanair -- which has been the worldwide leader in outlandish ideas -- has even floated the concept of standing room only seating. European regulators quickly dismissed that idea. And last year, Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier in China, tried to get regulators there to approve a plane redesign to allow some standing passengers.

While none of those plans have moved forward, maybe the saddle-riding cowboy approach to airline seating will pass muster. Maybe.

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