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This airline wants to ditch seats and make passengers stand to cut travel costs

Passengers are guaranteed to be thigh-ired.

PHOTO: YAHOO

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – Small seats, cramped legroom and seat kickers will soon be a thing of the past, but at the cost of standing on flight. At least, that’s the plan for Colombian airline, VivaColombia.

The budget airline revealed this week plans to remove all seats from its planes and create standing-only flights. They believe this will allow them to squeeze more passengers into every flight and slash air fares, making air travel more affordable for all.

VivaColombia also announced an addition of 20 flights between local cities and 50 new Airbus 320s – which will have more seats and lower operating costs – to keep up with Colombia’s thriving tourism.

But VivaColombia’s founder and CEO William Shaw, in an interview with Miami Herald, said the airline ultimately hopes to move onto vertical travel options. “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,” he said.

“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?” he added.

Photo: Getty

Although it seems revolutionary, this is not the first time an airline considered standing-only flights. Back in 2010, Irish budget airline Ryanair also proposed standing-only cabins with vertical seats similar to bar stools with seatbelts for students and budget holidaymakers.

While many were skeptical of its designs, CEO Michael O’Leary said passengers would be fine “[hanging] on to the handle” as the plane landed.

“If you say to passengers it’s £25 for the seat and £1 for the standing cabin, I guarantee we will sell the standing cabin first.”

– Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary

Despite Mr O’Leary’s confidence, his plans were hampered when an unnamed regulator declined permission for test flights in 2012. Boeing rejected its design as well and said it did not meet regulatory requirements.

Five years on, vertical seats or standing flights still have not been sanctioned by regulators in any country. Colombian Civil Aviation Director Alfredo Bocanegra, for instance, said vertical seating wasn’t something he welcomed.

“People have to travel like human beings,” he told RCN radio.

“Anyone who had ridden on public mass transport knows that it’s not the best when you’re standing.”

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