The head of Colombian discount airline VivaColombia has said that he would like to sell tickets that require passengers to stand for the duration of the flight.
William Shaw, founder and CEO of the Bogotá-based carrier, recently confirmed, according to the Miami Herald, that this idea goes beyond a cockamamie dream and is actually something that is being looked into. “There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up,” Shaw told the Miami Herald.
His rationale is simple: Why waste all the space for seats when you can fit more people into a fuselage set up like a subway car and then charge each passenger a lower fare? “We’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive,” Shaw told the Herald.
He believes that people would gladly pass up a bit of luxury for a cheaper rate. “Who cares if you don’t have an inflight entertainment system for a one-hour flight?” he told the Herald. “Who cares that there aren’t marble floors … or that you don’t get free peanuts?”
While some may argue that peanuts and seats represent quite different levels on the amenity scale — and others, including Airbus, have had this idea in the past — the plan may never come to pass anyway.
Alfredo Bocanegra, director of Colombian aviation authority Aerocivil, told Bogotá-based radio network RCN that he wouldn’t green light such a proposal, citing safety and turbulence concerns. “It is not viable for airplanes to carry standing passengers,” Bocanegra told RCN.
“A person must travel like a human being,” continued Bocanegra. “Anyone who has used public transit knows that traveling is not the best when you’re standing. The ideal way is to travel sitting down — and this offers minimal comfort.”
VivaColombia, it seems, will have to stick to a more traditional business model. And the airline, which Ryanair investment arm Irelandia Aviation upped its stake in from 25% to 75% last year, recently announced further expansion to increase its operations
Last month, Shaw said the company has made an investment to add 50 new aircraft, Airbus 320s, to its fleet. The new planes will go into operation in May 2018, said the CEO.
Photo: A VivaColombia jet sits on the tarmac at Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport. (Credit: Santiago Narayana)