Standing-room only section on planes? Could mean lower fares

Would you buy a bargain-priced airline ticket, but the catch was you had to stand for the entire flight?

A new university study says the idea of standing-only sections on planes is no joke.

An airline that removes seats can accommodate about 20 percent more passengers and, as a result, offer discounts of as much as 44 percent compared with airlines that offer big comfy seats, according to the study published in the International Journal of Engineering and Technology.

Airlines in Ireland and China have looked into the concept, but none have yet put the idea into practice.

Major carriers in the U.S. and the Federal Aviation Administration say the idea has to overcome some serious hurdles before it can take off. FAA officials say they haven’t seen the study but note that under current standards, passengers are required to fasten seat belts during takeoffs, landings and when instructed by the pilot.

“You can’t have a seat belt without a seat,” FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

To meet the seat belt requirement, the study suggests passengers lean against a padded backboard, with straps that stretch over their shoulders.

The study’s author, Fairuz I. Romli, an aerospace engineering professor and lecturer at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, said passengers would probably be comfortable standing only on flights shorter than three hours.

Gregor said all seats on commercial planes must be tested by the FAA to withstand specific pressures.

The idea won’t fly because air travelers won’t agree to it, said Jean Medina, spokeswoman for Airlines for America, the trade group for the nation’s airlines.

“Airline customers ultimately determine what works in the market, voting with their wallet every day,” she said, “and comfort is high among drivers of their choice.”

More in Life

Artist Justin Hillgrove, creator of Imps and Monsters, in his studio. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Where the wild things are in Snohomish

Step into the studio of Imps and Monsters creator Justin Hillgrove for a Black Friday sale.

Did you know? Bats edition

Worthwhile Everett library reading and viewing about bats of the animal, sport and hero varieties.

Don’t forbid friendship with back-talking neighbor kid

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked… Continue reading

How birds stay alive in winter and what you can do to help

When the weather turns chilly, columnist Sharon Wootton’s thoughts turn to birds coping with cold.

Don’t get scammed: Think before you click on email links

An email that was supposedly from iTunes is a scam that targeted busy parents.

Sweden’s Glass Country sparkles like a hand-blown bauble

You can blame my Norwegian heritage, but I’m not so hot on… Continue reading

The pros’ snow: Lake Tahoe a big draw for skiers of all stripes

North Lake Tahoe is home to one of the largest concentrations of ski resorts in North America.

Teen idol David Cassidy remains in Florida hospital

The former pop star is dealing with multiple organ failure.

Most Read