Lonely Planet Writer

A Colombian airline is considering removing all passenger seats from its planes

While we grumble about cramped seating on flights and rate in-flight entertainment and meals as very important, one budget airline in Colombia is considering a plan to remove all seats from its planes, allowing its aircraft to take more passengers on board. VivaColombia hopes that if the idea comes to fruition, making passengers stand during its flights will bring fares down.

A Colombian airline plans to make passengers stand on board. Image: Digital Vision
A Colombian airline plans to make passengers stand on board. Image: Digital Vision

The no-frills South American carrier believes the move will open up more flights to working-class Colombians and budget holidaymakers. Passengers wouldn’t be left wandering around the cabin in mid-air though, as the airline is currently looking into what is called vertical travel options.

“There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up,” VivaColombia founder and CEO William Shaw explained to the Miami Herald. “We’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive. Who cares if you don’t have an in-flight entertainment system for a one-hour flight? Who cares that there aren’t marble floors or that you don’t get free peanuts?”

A Colombian airline plans to make passengers stand on board. Image: BJI
A Colombian airline plans to make passengers stand on board. Image: BJI

The concept is not a new one, because various airlines, including Ryanair, have previously discussed the idea of standing sections on flights. Italian company Aviointeriors S.P.A, came up with the concept for a “Skyrider” standing seat, which it demonstrated at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. It would give passengers 23 inches of legroom instead of the industry average of 30 inches, and its designers said it would only be suitable for flights up to three hours duration. Civil aviation authorities may need some convincing though as vertical seats have not been approved by regulators in any country to date.

Italian company Aviointeriors S.P.A designed the "Skyrider" standing seat. Image: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
Italian company Aviointeriors S.P.A designed the “Skyrider” standing seat. Image: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

It will be interesting to see what happens in Colombia, and whether flying while standing gets the go-ahead. No doubt other airlines, who are constantly looking for ways to maximise revenue, will be watching the outcome with keen interest.