Budget UK airline Ryanair has been in the news on numerous occasions for its often unorthodox approach to marketing, customer service and travel. But Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary recently hit the headlines with his new travel idea – standing room only in certain sections of the plane. Budget travelers could spend as little as $1 to travel on Ryanair’s European short-haul flights if they were prepared to stand all the way.
However, as you might expect, the plan is not approved by airline safety regulators and travel insurance providers. Current legislation insists that passengers wear seatbelts during a flight and a standing-room-only section would fall short of meeting this requirement. O’Leary claims that seatbelts are unnecessary and don’t make flying any safer. He says that seatbelts don’t save passengers in a crash and can be removed while the safety of the airline is unaffected.
He added that flights across Europe are not affected by much turbulence so the argument that seatbelts reduce injuries caused by turbulence doesn’t apply to his routes. The idea of cheap flights for passengers that stand is popular with many travelers, particularly people who want to cut the cost of their European vacation. Many travelers in England stand for hours on inter-city trains when they are busy and all seats are filled. A 50-minute flight to Spain, supporters say, is bearable even when standing if you can fly for $1.
Other travelers disagree and are unsure that Ryanair is taking flying in the right direction. The company already makes passengers pay for food and drink onboard, plus cabin luggage and seat allocation. A cheap ticket becomes more expensive when you have to pay for extras that other airlines include in the cost of the fare. What do you think? Would you fly for $1 if it meant you had to stand up? Or do you prefer your in-flight comforts and are prepared to pay a little extra for them?