The legroom wars, the root of emergency landings and diversions, will only get worse if airlines keep adding more seats to planes, as many plan to do. But one airline has the perfect financial and comfort salve: not having passengers sit down at all. It's a real win-win (no it's not).
Spring Airlines, China's leading low-cost carrier, hopes to roll out standing-room only cabins where passengers remain upright, strapped into standing "seats" with safety belts around the waist. The airline’s chairman Wang Zhenghua has previously likened the seats to "bar stools," though unless there’s an actual bar on hand, being stuck to a bar stool inside a plane does not sound pleasant.
The Telegraph reports Zhenghua has been looking to introduce standing-room since 2009. And according to China National Radio, the airline is now seeking government approval to make it a reality.
At the cost of fliers’ comfort, standing-room would enable the airline to sell customers cheaper tickets and pack in 40% more passengers per plane. Because everyone knows what airlines really need: bigger profits and more people inside every plane. Though thankfully, it'll be a while before airplanes turn into subway cars.
“We need many other conditions to make it work,” a Spring Airlines spokesperson told China National Radio. “Like working together with airplane manufacturers, getting the approval from the authorities and having the consumers accept the idea.”
And as Mashable notes, other low-cost airlines like Ryanair have proposed standing-room cabins, though they've yet to actually implement the change due to safety concerns. But standing-room only planes appear inevitable, because people are dumb enough to tolerate any debasement, so long as it's cheaper.