Is the Ryanair Standing-Room-Only for Real?

Posted Jul 5th 2010 07:24 AMUpdated Jul 5th 2010 08:43 AM

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Controversial low-cost carrier Ryanair says it is working on creating "standing-room-only" seats that it would sell for fares of about $6 and up. But is it for real?

Ryanair CEO Michael O' Leary was on the U.K.'s ITV last week, saying the carrier is looking at taking out the last 10 rows of seats on its 737-800 planes to create a standing room area.

A carrier spokesman tells the London Telegraph that Ryanair has even talked the idea over with airline manufacturer Boeing and would begin safety testing next year.

But the BBC quotes a Boeing spokesman as saying that's not going to happen. "Among other things, stringent regulatory requirements - including seats capable of withstanding a force of 16 Gs (16 times the force of gravity) - pretty much preclude such an arrangement," Boeing spokesman Nick West says.

And other industry observers say the whole thing is likely just a publicity stunt. Danny Rogers, editor of PR Week magazine tells the BBC, "They've only got one message, which is no frills. Ryanair is all about getting you from A to B as cheaply as possible."

European safety officials tell the Daily Mail that no "vertical seat" proposal has been officially been submitted, and that even if it was it would not likely be approved by regulators.

A few years ago there were reports of some Asian airlines considering a similar standing-room idea on Airbus A380s, those reports later dismissed.

This is not the first time Ryanair has made outlandish claims.

O'Leary on ITV also says he is also still considering an earlier idea of charging for toilet access on the carrier's planes, to encourage passengers to use facilities before they board. He makes his comments on the show "How to Beat the Budget Airlines."

A Ryanair spokesman tells the BBC the bathroom idea would happen if the standing room is approved, but another idea to charge a "fat tax" for obese passengers has been dropped.

Photo, aromano, flickr

Filed Under: News

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