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Believe it or Not: Chinese Airline Considers “Standing Room Only”

July 2, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick,Passengers

UPDATE: Spoke too soon! Ryanair IS in fact considering something similar – seating passengers on bar stools.

EARLIER: Four year old Spring Airlines, based in Shanghai, is a low cost carrier that could put Ryanair and its unabashedly cheapskate ways to shame.

Because Spring is looking at the idea of “standing room only” for some of its passengers.

Here’s the situation: unlike a lot of airlines around the world, Spring apparently has more passengers than it knows what to do with. They are buying more planes, but they won’t be delivered until next year. So…if they fill a plane with standing passengers, they can shoe-horn in 40% more than in a regular jet.

Now, the stories I’ve read on this have been a little confusing – at one point, a Chinese officials is quoted as saying, “it’s just like barstools” – and then they talking about passengers “standing” – but in any event, there will be safety belts – just no food, water or carryon bags. If this idea wins approval.

That’s still a pretty big “if” – the airline has to submit this idea to the country’s aviation regulator. So, it might never happen.

But let’s say it does – Spring Airlines says it’ll charge the standees 20% less than its sitting passengers. I don’t know – does that strike you as a good deal? Leave a comment…

9 Responses to “Believe it or Not: Chinese Airline Considers “Standing Room Only””

  1. sim says:

    On the face of it, that sounds crazy. But you never know, low-cost airlines have already successfully ventured to many areas that would’ve sounded absurd 10 years ago.

    But you could make this plan better, too: why not offer full-length beds that are just stacked tightly on top of each other – Šla the capsule hotels in Japan. You could sleep through your cheap flight in comfort, albeit in somewhat of a tight space. You might be able to cram even more people in like that.

  2. Not Surprised says:

    another idea for Ryan Air – no bar stools – just a strap to hang onto – like the subway in many cities. Of course if the plane hits turbulance – it will be a giant pile up – but cheapo air does not care. The only reason I think this may not happen is because air transportation is pretty tightly regulated. It could happen in China – but not in GB and not the US.
    The idea of flat beds sound attractive – how about flat slabs – stack them in – head to feet – or – if standing crammed in like cattle cars.

  3. David Z says:

    Crazy. ‘Nuff said. :)

  4. Tess says:

    I could see maybe if they filled the plane with walls and strapped people into them how it could work. So long as the flight was short enough, I don’t think I’d mind too much. Lucky airline to be having too many customers!

  5. I hope Spring Airlines has determined that those extra passengers, who they can’t take on until they are allowed to deliver this standing room only service to, are actually willing to pay for this kind of service. It would really suck if the company hadn’t thought to do research on this point – fitted the planes, got approval, trained staff, etc. and then no one was willing to buy the standing room only tickets.

  6. Leon says:

    Ok guys what if you need to use the lavatory and straps will dislocate your shoulder during turbulence. If FAA is crazy enough to allow this Iíll get an investment group together to buy a plane, “exclusive airlines”.

  7. barstools says:

    Great stuff – just bookmarked you on Digg along with this

  8. financeguy says:

    If you’re 6’6″ like me, you’d say no way. But I guess if there is no carryon privileges, perhaps the luggage racks would be removed.

    I think it’s a good idea. I’ve been to Asia many times, and if there’s one thing everyone is familiar with… it’s tight and crowded places with people everywhere.

  9. Rick Seaney says:


    Well, so far this idea has gone nowhere – and I hope that’s where it stays.

    Thanks for writing,

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