Airline CEO: ‘Standing room only’ coming to VivaColombia soon

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Passengers could soon find that it’s standing room only in the cabins of their budget airliners – that’s if VivaColombia founder William Shaw gets his way.

The idea of removing seats so that passengers can stand on short-haul flights has been mooted for years. Now, the CEO of the Colombian airliner is hoping to finally get the plan off the ground.

“There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up – we’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive,” Shaw told the Miami Herald.

“Who cares if you don’t have an inflight entertainment system for a one-hour flight? Who cares that there aren’t marble floors… or that you don’t get free peanuts?”

Just how Shaw’s marble-furnished plane could get off the ground is anyone’s guess, but he is not the first airline boss to try and make cattle class travel even more crammed.

In 2003, Airbus first floated a design for saddle-seating which would have asked passengers to lean against the back of their seat and place their legs over a saddle.

Irish budget carrier Ryanair, which partially owns VivaColombia, proposed standing areas in 2010. At the time, airline boss Michael O’Leary fell foul of the Civil Aviation Authority for suggesting that seats and seatbelts were not necessary on flights.

“If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you,” he said. “You don’t need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don’t need a seatbelt on trains which are travelling at 120mph and if they crash you’re all dead.”

China’s Spring Airlines, another budget carrier, raised the prospect of removing seats one year before. The airline’s president Wang Zhenghua said at the time: “For a lower price, passengers should be able to get on a plane like catching a bus… no luggage consignment, no food, no water.”

Presently, no aviation regulator has approved the use of ‘standing seats’ anywhere in the world.

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