Photograph of Airbus Human Steerage

You might remember Airbus passionately denying that they intend on introducing standing room only human steerage cattle cars into their airplanes.

The controversy stems from a New York Times report by Christopher Elliot that Airbus quietly pitched standing room only seats to Asian carriers. The theory apparently being that Asians are already used to fitting thousands of screaming villagers on the rooves of tiny provincial trains for dozens of hours at a time, passengers flying in standing room class “would be propped against a padded backboard.” Just like Hannibal Lecter!

Airbus denied the claims, going so far as to call them “totally idiotic”… but Christoper Elliot isn’t backing down, and he’s posted a very tiny, could-have-come-from-anywhere picture some guy sent him on his blog to prove it.

Weirdly enough, those don’t look too shabby. As an eighteen year old backpacker, we’ve traveled human steerage before, albeit in a train — it’s called the Venice-to-Vienna-on-a-Eurail-Pass option over in Europe. Make it cheap enough and we’d fly that — hell, it beats being crammed face first into some smelly Italian’s armpit for seven hours.

Taking a stand [Ellipses]
Previously: Fly The Friendly Skies In A Coffin


Edit Your Comment

  1. Paul D says:

    picture some guy sent him on his blog

    Now THERE’S a reliable source!

  2. airship says:

    Paul D, unfortunately that’s what passes for journalism these days. You can justify it with the mantra ‘everybody’s doing it’.
    That being said, The part I really, really wouldn’t like is having my backside exposed to the stranger behind me like that. Or his exposed to me.

  3. All the picture is missing are the restraints that swivel down and lock in place…let’s see this reminds me of something…oh yeah! A rollercoaster! Maybe the pilot could make the flight more interesting for the passengers…a few loopy-loops and barrel rolls and the hours will just fly by…

  4. Ben Popken says:

    Transuranic writes:

    “Reliable source reporting aside, you have to realize that ANY cost cutting measure a company undertakes, if it hasn’t been seriously considered, WILL be considered. Corporations run on revenue and not on your comfort. That only enters the picture if it’s going to affect revenue – and once people are used to this kind of travel, it won’t.

    Corporations aren’t fellow humans, but you can think of them as biological entities. They’re these… yknow, masses of humanity – impersonal plant-like entities that are hardly aware of individual people. People comprise them – the roots, stems, leaves, executives, janitors, suppliers, clients. And corporations are composed of us, and so the actions of large numbers of people make a difference in how they behave. (Or laws.) But they’re no more concerned with the tiny behaviors of a few than I am with my lung cells if I smoke (mmm, I miss cigarettes. Damn this “quitting” bullshit.)

    Nature’s harsh, and corporations are a new type of nature, one that’s so big and complex that we can’t view it all at one time. They’ll behave in predictable ways. One prediction is that corporations will compress people into airplanes until we physically cry out in pain and never, ever fly again.

    So reliable source or not, here comes standing-room only air seating!”

  5. Fairytale of Los Angeles says:

    It’s not even a photograph, as far as I can tell– looks like a rendered image from a 3D app like Maya or 3D Studio Max. Which, of course, means either “sure, it came from somewhere inside the airline industry,” or “sure, my nephew made that in half an hour in Blender so I could put it on my blog.”