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Will you fly a commercial airplane without seats?

  • Budget airline wants to introduce standing room only flights

  • Considering removing the seats from its airplanes.

  • VivaColombia is not the first airline to play around with the idea.

  • So far, regulators have not approved the idea for safety concerns.

Colombian budget airline VivaColombia is considering ripping out all the seats from its planes and making passengers stand instead.

While not quite actual standing, so-called “vertical seating” will be more like leaning on a bar stool. Planes would fit more passengers this way, which in turn would make travel cheaper, and thus more accessible to the masses.

VivaColombia is the latest budget carrier to express interest in so-called vertical seating as it renewed calls for “standing seats” to be permitted on aircraft to further drive down the cost of flying. The company is not the first airline to consider stand-up flights. In 2010, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary expressed interest – and even doubted whether seat belts were necessary.

VivaColombia’s founder and CEO William Shaw told the Miami Herald, “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 added, “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?”

A plane is “just a b****** bus with wings”, he said at the time. “If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you. You don’t need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don’t need a seatbelt on trains which are travelling at 120mph and if they crash you’re all dead…”

The idea was revealed alongside an  announcement earlier this week that VivaColombia is adding 50 new Airbus 320s to its fleet in 2018 to capitalize on the country’s booming tourism market. The new planes will have more seats and run at lower costs, making flight tickets cheaper for its passengers.

Of course, safety is a major concern on whether the airline can move forward with the idea. When back in 2010, budget airline Ryanair announced it would be selling standing room only tickets, however, the idea was not approved by Civil Aviation Authorities.

In an article by The Telegraph, Richard Taylor, a spokesperson for the CAA said, “Unless they can make it 100% safe, it won’t be viable.”

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) disagrees with O’Leary. It claims seatbelts are essential for passenger safety and said there would be many hurdles to jump through before carriers could launch “stand-up” flights.

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