A Colombian airline is considering a novel way of making flying even cheaper — by removing seats and making passengers stand up during their flight.
It’s not the first time an airline has floated the idea, but low-budget carrier VivaColombia says it was very interested in the radical idea, which could help drive down the cost of airfares and make them more accessible to more people.
“There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up,” VivaColombia’s founder and chief executive William Shaw told The Miami Herald.
“We’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive.”
Airbus first started discussing the possibility of standing-room flights back in 2003 when it came up with the concept of a vertical seat that would allow passengers to stand while being braced.
In 2010, Irish no-frills airline Ryanair announced plans to offer discounted tickets — as low as $7 — to passengers willing to stand on flights.
The airline’s chief executive Michael O’Leary proposed Airbus’ vertical seats for special standing-room only sections of the flight, however the idea was met with resistance from British and European aviation authorities and never came to pass.
Another “standing” seat was built in 2010 — the SkyRider, by Italian seat design company AvioInteriors — which was designed for people to “perch” on. The SkyRider’s design allowed for a space of just 58 centimeters between seats, meaning more could be packed onto a plane — but it never got the required approval for use.
Even Chinese carrier Spring Airlines discussed introducing vertical seats as recently as two years ago.
So far none of these ideas have taken off, and it seems like VivaColombia’s ideas may also fall short.
Discussing the idea on Colombian radio, the country’s Civil Aviation Director Alfredo Bocanegra said it was not going to happen on his watch.
“People have to travel like human beings,” Mr Bocanegra said.
“Anyone who has ridden on public mass transit knows that it’s not the best when you’re standing.”