The storyline is anything but new—budget airlines try everything to bring down operational costs, so they can lower ticket prices and maintain their competitive edge in an industry that was built on luxury. Fitting as many passengers as possible is one of the best ways to do that, and so cabins have been reconfigured and leg room was lost to the bottom line. Those redesigns were practical and foreseeable, but this dramatic design could have passengers giving up more than just a few inches of leg room.
A recent study published in the International Journal of Engineering and Technology explored the real world possibility and value of “standing cabins.” According to the study, areas where passengers stand for the entirety of the flight could be used on commercial airlines and could save both airlines and travelers money.
The study calculated an airline that removed seats in favor of standing sections could fit about 20 percent more passengers and could make ticket prices “as much as 44 percent lower for certain flight routes.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, airlines in Ireland and China have considered the idea but as of right now, there are no commercial flights offering the option. The authors of the study say while it’s not technically approved, the concept is not expressly prohibited by rules of the major organizations that govern airline safety. The stand-up “seat” option will include a padded backboard and a safety strap, and the current requirement is that the passenger is secure—not that they are seated.
Despite the projected savings, many are critical of the stand-up section. The spokeswoman for Airlines for America, Jean Medina told the Los Angeles Times she doesn’t think customers will support the idea.
Airline customers ultimately determine what works in the market, voting with their wallet every day and comfort is high among drivers of their choice.