Travel Tips and Tricks

Standing Room Only

I’m not a small man. Nor am I what you’d call super-sized, either. But when I’m seated in coach on your average airliner, particularly if I’m seated next to someone about my size, I do find myself feeling a little like what I imagine a sardine might feel like all jammed up in that tiny little can. But things could be worse.

According to the New York Times, Airbus is reportedly pitching a Standing Room Only (SRO) “seating” option for it’s new A380 to Asian carriers. If Airbus is successful in it’s pitch, airline travel could actually get even more uncomfortable than it already is. And that’s a tough pill to swallow.

The paper, claiming to quote experts who it said had seen a proposal, reports that if the SRO option were used, passengers would be “propped” against a padded backboard and held in place with a harness. Masochists rejoice!

Meanwhile, CNNMoney.com is reporting that Airbus is flatly denying the claim.

Either way, the message is clear. The airlines want to squeeze more profit out of their jets, and they’re willing to sacrifice your comfort to do it. The fact that I can write a story about an airliner manufacturer exploring an option to cram still more people in an already small space, with “seats” that are even more ridiculous than they are today, is proof enough that things will get even more uncomfortable then they already are, long before they get any better; if they get better at all.

I’m betting that, if the FAA were to approve such a ridiculous “seating” arrangement, that you’ll at least see some SRO options installed along the bulkheads of existing airliners in the not too distant future. Those harnesses (and their padded boards) might just look attractive to a traveler that’s been victimized by a cancelled flight after being stuck in an airport for many long hours, with no other apparent hope of finding a ride home anytime soon.


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Posted by Michael Worth at 03:49 PM on April 25, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
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