If you can squeeze into this, you can squeeze into anything

I’m working on an aircraft interiors feature for Flight that will look at whether standing-seat and stacked sleeper seat concepts have any hope of seeing the light of day. Spring Airlines recently made known its interest in the former, and Ryanair followed this announcement by saying it too was looking at such concepts (in an apparent publicity stunt).

Ryanair pic.JPG

Ryanair ran this graphic on its site; it appears to have originated in the 2006 New York Times piece about Airbus’ interest in standing-seats for the Asian market – a piece that was later corrected and largely overhauled by the newspaper after Airbus cried foul.

But while this graphic might not provide the answer, Hans Weber, president and owner of Tecop International, says we shouldn’t count out possible – and yes viable – standing-seat solutions making an entrance in the future. Indeed, he suggests the Asian market might get the ball rolling.

Key quote from Weber:

“If you look at the conditions that many people in Asia are used to when they travel by bus or train, they are certainly used to being squeezed into a standing up position. Look at the Toyko subway, for instance.

“Culturally, an idea like that [aircraft standing-seats] would seem less outlandish in Asia than it would seem here. Anybody who has ever travelled in Asia, including highly developed Japan, has personally experienced how much standing up you do and how squeezed in you are, and how must be prepared for that.”

Weber’s comment rang familiar to me. Noted interiors consultant Vern Alg said something similar during my interview with him over the weekend.

Key quote from Alg:

“You have customers who are not bothered being seated close to one another. People in the United States have a great deal of difficulty getting into a Tokyo subway but it’s not a problem for the Japanese. The Asian people tend to be smaller in stature so you have opportunities to put more seats in there without compromising comfort. You’re seeing some Asian carriers going 10-abreast on Boeing 777s, for instance.”

This, of course, begs a demonstration of the Tokyo subway.


I’ll take five Xanax for this ride please and thank you (although I’ve been informed that my head and shoulders would be floating above the majority of passengers due to what could, at least in this instance, be considered a little height advantage).

An aircraft stand-up seat would be seriously more comfortable than this, I’m sure. Important question – could I still use my iPhone while standing up and presumably harnessed in?  

(Graphic above ran on Ryanair web site but appears to have originated in 2006 by a New York Times staffer as seen here)  

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4 Responses to If you can squeeze into this, you can squeeze into anything

  1. RobH August 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    I’m interested to see what safety features have been provided for when the a/c hits turbulence. The illustration looks like a metal bar instead of shoulder harnesses. And they’d have to remove the overhead bins as well (standing on a bus, you have one hand on the bar, one on your briefcase: not conducive w/ air travel)

    Anyway, ever been to an old cathedral sanctuary? These look like the discrete seats provided for the clergy.

  2. Dave August 11, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    I’m boycotting any airline that proposes to use these “seats”… Perhaps the solution is nationalize these carriers and put them out of their misery.

  3. 7K7 August 12, 2009 at 8:28 am #

    The standing seat system could be improved by eliminating the seat altogether and replacing it with loops hanging from the cieling, which would support the victims I mean passengers by the arms.

    There would be two loops per passenger, one for each arm.

    This system would be lighter and could be adjusted to take the weight off the legs on long flights.

    Straps on the floor could be used to secure the feet during take-off, turbulence and landings.

  4. David Gunn August 15, 2009 at 9:32 am #

    Think about this – when everyone is packed into a train like that, there is less of a hazard. If you’re in a crash, you’re not going to slam into anything. All you need is for the actual sides of the train to hold up!

    You might catch an airborne disease more easily, though.