The future of budget airline travel – standing room only?
TIGER Airways would consider introducing a "standing-only" option for passengers in a bid to lower airfares.
The low-cost carrier said it could follow in the footsteps of UK budget airline Ryanair and introduce “vertical seating”.
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O'Leary said the Irish airline will fund the controversial travel option by charging customer to use the restroom during flights.
His proposed “vertical seats” would be available in a special standing-room only sections in the rear of commuter flights lasting an hour or possibly longer.
Tickets would cost between $7 and $14 per passenger, Mr OLeary said in TV interview.
The new seating proposal was welcomed by Mr Burns, who said Tiger Airways wouldn’t rule anything out.
“Selling cheap fares is easy. Doing it profitably means having to continually innovate and evolve so that the cost base continues to reduce.”
Ryanair will conduct safety testing for the new vertical seats next year.
"We've been looking at is taking out the last ten rows of seats so we will have 15 rows of seats and the equivalent of ten rows of standing area," Mr OLeary said.
However, Civil Aviation Authority officials harbor doubts that the revolutionary new seats would pass safety rules.
"It's aviation law that people have to have a seat-belt on from take-off and landing so they would have to be in a seat. I don't know how Mr O'Leary would get around that one," said a spokesman.
I’ve read a few (almost entirely negative) opinions on this over the last few days but I really don’t see the big turn-off here. Obviously, vertical seating would only really be feasible for short-haul journeys but I truly feel it’s something a lot of travellers would be interested in.
Maybe it should be extended to trains and buses, too? Coming back from London last week on the train, I had to stand in the crammed vestibule for over an hour before any seats were available. I’m certain that we would have all gladly paid for a vertical seat had they been available – which would also have been far safer than being thrown about the carriage like a bunch of ragdolls.
Ryanair should be congratulated for innovating in a vastly competitive sector and this vertical seating idea is a much less egregious concept then some of their other attempts to secure new revenue streams. Charging passengers a quid a go to visit the toilet, for instance, seems a touch extortionate, though as Michael O’Leary pointed out elsewhere, this should have minimal effect for short haul flights and will simply encourage people to use the ‘airport facilities’ before boarding. Still, it seems tough on those people who are ‘caught short’ unexpectedly or those cursed with tiny bladders!
Anyhow, assuming that the vertical seats can be deemed compatible with aviation law –and from a safety point of view, I really can’t see why not – I’m sure a lot of budget airlines will follow suit in offering vertical seating at vastly reduced rates.