In a move that would make even Ryanair's president jealous, China Springs Airline has been working on the details required to let passengers stand, or sit on a barstool-like seat, in order to fit more people on its planes.
The relatively young airline is looking at retrofitting its current planes with the new standing-room-only seats to keep pace with the incredible demand it has experienced.
These barstool-type seats -- which would still feature a safety belt -- would allow Spring Airlines to cut costs 20% and carry 40% more passengers per flight. No details about the actual seats are available but I can only imagine that they will look similar to the seats on stand up roller coasters. Despite the futuristic look, many people, myself included, find this type of seat horribly uncomfortable.
China Springs airlines flies domestically to 23 airports in China and has already shown the barstool seating plans to Airbus, where they earned a safety seal of approval. The airline is also in talks with the Chinese government to earn its big thumbs up.
China Spring Airlines' president, Wang Zhenghua, is confident that the government will offer approval citing current vice premier Zhang Dejiang's opinion that, "for a lower price, passengers should be able to get on a plane like catching a bus, with no seat, no luggage consignment, no food, no water, but very convenient."
If the idea catches on in China it may only be a matter of time before it is imported to the States, much like cheap city-to-city bus travel used to be. With at least one budget airline already offering $9 tickets, it will be interesting to see just how low airfare can go. I can hardly wait to enjoy my next transcontinental flight standing in between a guy who talks to himself and a lady who hasn't showered in a week. Wheels UP!
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