Latest Ryanair PR Stunt: Vertical Seats

Known for making up crazy cost-cutting moves it has no intention of implementing just to to get headlines, Ryanair’s CEO is at it again, saying the budget-airliner plans to introduce vertical seats, of the type Airbus researched but scuttled, next year.

That should make more room for the pay-toilets.

Ryanair to sell standing room only tickets for £4… funded by charging passengers to use the toilet [Daily Mail via @ronlieber]

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  1. rbb says:

    Actually, those would probably offer me more legroom than a standard seat…

    • Mr_Human says:

      So true. These would be cool for short-haul flights, except if you get stuck on the tarmac for three hours. Then it would be a nightmare. Still, the legroom!

    • SwoonOMatic says:

      I always thought it would be more efficient AND more comfortable for people to travel laying down on their back. You can stretch, sleep watch a movie, etc. in a sort of bunk-bed arrangement. This seems similar, just lay flat instead of the “Lean-Rail” seating illustrated.

      • axhandler1 says:

        Yeah, lying down would be better. I like the design of airline seating as imagined in “The Fifth Element”. Now, if only someone would invent sleep regulators.

      • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

        Yes! Bunks would be great for trans-oceanic flights.

    • QuantumRiff says:

      being tall, I would love this, except for the spots under the overhead bins. Much more legroom. However, they say weight is the single biggest cost for planes (each pound costs more fuel) so i wonder what happens when you pack a bunch more people on the plane. I guess the seats probably weigh less than the ones they use now.. but still, I’m intrigued..

    • rbb says:

      But, if they recline, then no way would I want them. I did not think about the overhead bin problem – maybe the aisle seats, otherwise that too is a fail.

  2. danmac says:

    Geez…looks like passengers will be crammed in like sardines in a can…how long before the weight of passengers plus luggage becomes a major issue?

  3. Jaws_Victim says:

    Disgusting. Anyone who willfully abuses themselves like this to pay a low price should be immediately shot. What ever happened to good product and good customer service? All Airline companies treat passengers like dirt. I have not flown since 2003, and I will continue to not do so. I wish more people would make a statement and teach the Airlines a lesson.

    • SideshowCrono says:

      That’s a pretty harsh criticism.

      So if I’m flying from Boston to New York (or vice versa) I shouldn’t even have the option for paying half price (or maybe even less) by standing for my 1 hour trip?

      “Good products and customer service” are no longer the case in so many industries because people would rather NOT pay for “good products and customer service.” The market provides what the people demand.

    • Alvis says:

      I like it – more like a subway. Do you have such strong feelings about there not being enough seats for everyone to sit on subways, too?

    • Randell says:

      I choose to live my life. IF I CHOOSE to pay a low fare that is what I can do. You judging people for making their own choice is just you being a sanctimonious blow hard. In fact there are ways you can fly and be in major comfort.
      YOU choose not to pay that much. So just be quiet. It is better to be quiet and have people think you are stupid, rather than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

    • kmw2 says:

      Most Ryanair flights are regional European flights lasting under two hours. Standing up for two hours is not such astonishing self-abuse that it requires seppuku. I don’t like Ryanair’s tactics either, they’re basically Air Greyhound, but jeez. Grow some perspective, would you?

    • GrantRyan says:

      And if you have to go overseas? Across the country?

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      If you want to fly from London to Berlin, you most certainly have choices. You can fly easyjet from Luton airport (an hour plus outside of London) to Schoenefeld airport for $55. Your seat will not recline, there will be no food, checked baggage will be $15 (if you pay in advance) or $30 (if you pay at checkin), and checking in at the airport (vs online) will cost you.

      Alternatively, for $127, you can fly on Lufthansa from Heathrow (15 minutes from downtown London) to convenient Tegel airport, get a free nonalcoholic drink, free checked luggage, maybe a snack, and an assigned seat with a bit more space. For another $200 or so, you could go business class on the same flight, where you’ll get another 6″ of legroom, a full meal, all the booze you can drink (in 1.5 hours) and a flight attendant who will hang up your suit jacket.

      Finally, if you want a flight that leaves exactly when you get to London City airport (right downtown), and gives you more space than you could possible use, you could pay €7,000 for a private jet.

      So, you have lots of options, ranging from the very cheap to the very expensive, and from the very bare-bones to the ultra-lux. You want more? You’re very welcome to pay more. If you’re paying Yugo rates, don’t expect Bentley service.

  4. savashley says:

    That looks incredibly uncomfortable to me.

  5. shangyle says:

    I would think it impossible for this to pass safety regulations. What happens if the cabin loses pressure? Sure, you can attach oxygen masks (and hope they work) but what happens if someone loses consciousness? I doubt those standing seats will support (and keep upright) a person who is dead weight.

  6. savvy9999 says:

    Will the sign above the landing gates also say Arbeit Macht Frei?

  7. nbs2 says:

    I love the sheer mesh backing. So stylish.

    Also, 4 quid per standing seat seems a little pricey – will they waive all the other fees that they charge? I know, I’m a funnyman.

  8. Draygonia says:

    And the prices will still be 700 dollars… if you book 2 months in advance… for a graveyard shift flight… on a Tuesday leaving on wednesday…

    • mikeyo says:

      700 dollars? Does ryanair even have any fares over $100?

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Ever heard that quote about better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove any doubt? I didn’t think you had.

      It’s Ryanair. There’s an extra fee if you don’t want them to sell your organs during the course of the flight.

    • hansolo247 says:

      I don’t think you know what business RyanAir is in.

      They are not an airline with 8 hour flights for hundreds.

      They are an airline with sub-hour flights for tens.

      It’s customers LIKE the flights to be as cheap as possible. Pay toilets and standing seats are actually thought of as GOOD IDEAS to many of their customers.

  9. Rube Goldberg says:

    Is Ryanair a subsidiary of Veridian Dynamics?

  10. pb5000 says:

    I would consider this, I’ve paid for standing room only concerts and sports events. I’ve also been stuck on a long train ride where the only option was standing in the super narrow hallway, it stunk for a few hours but I made it to my destination and was fine. For the cheap price, I could make due standing for a flight. However, I’m 6’3″ so I can’t actually stand up straight on most planes I’ve ever been on. How do they expect to handle that?

    • obits3 says:

      Maybe they’ll create special seats and try to charge extra for them.

      • OnePumpChump says:

        Get rid of some baggage space, lower a section of floor for “extra headroom” seats.

        I mean this is really only going to be acceptable on short flights where people probably aren’t carrying as much luggage, anyway.

  11. DanRydell says:

    If you think this is a PR stunt, why would you give them publicity?

  12. htowninsomniac says:

    Here’s a modest proposal for the Irish airline: Turn passengers into ground meat, fill every nook and cranny.

  13. ap0 says:

    I’m 6’2″ and can barely stand up in most smaller planes (like 737s, which Ryanair flies frequently). I wonder if I’d be able to even fit in one of these “seats.”

    • ganmerlad says:

      Ah, see, you have hit upon O’Leary’s cunning plan. He takes out the overhead bins for head room and charges 50 euros to stow your carry on.

  14. DanRydell says:

    I’m laughing at all the people who think standing is such a terrible thing. And it doesn’t even look like you’d have to support much of your weight, you’d be leaning more than standing, and the little butt ledge would help support you. This wouldn’t be bad at all for short flights.

    • Brainswarm says:

      You must not have ever tried standing erect on an airplane while being over six feet tall. Then again, sitting in a non-exit row airline seat while being over six feet tall is no picnic either.

      • DanRydell says:

        You’re assuming there will still be overhead luggage bins above these seats. That’s probably not possible. I’m 6′ tall and can only stand where there is no luggage bin. These seats would probably be more comfortable for tall people if there is no overhead bin above them, but there’s no way I’d give up my carry-on luggage.

    • aloria says:

      I get horrible motion sickness if I am not seated on a moving transport. And no, dramamine doesn’t help– it just makes me act like a drunk person from extreme drowsiness.

      • DanRydell says:

        Then you clearly wouldn’t want to buy a ticket for one of these standing “seats.”

  15. BobOblah says:

    If my flight was less than four hours, I’d consider it. This would be great for short commuter trips also.

  16. Buckus says:

    Haha…soon they’ll get rid of seats altogether and just have an overhead bar to grab onto during takeoff and landing.

  17. evilpete says:

    i want to see crash test survivability results

    • satoru says:

      I tried finding some data on this. But it seems like most big airline crashes have involved pretty catastrophic failures where ‘crash safely’ is somewhat of a moot point. A seat belt in a seat isn’t going to help if you’re crashing into a mountain, if the plane explodes, or is ripped in half by an open cargo door. Seatbelts and airbags in cars make sense since they keep you conscious in lots of scenarios so you can escape safely (other than say driving off a cliff into a lake of lava). I’m not sure too many scenarios where being conscious would have actually helped in a plane crash.

      Though I admit, recent ones coming to mind might be the Hudson River crash or the Air France Flight 358. Though one might argue in those scenarios, an over the shoulder harness like the ones pictured, might be better than the lap belts? They’re good enough for roller coasters after all :)

  18. NightSteel says:

    On relatively short to medium domestic flights, I’d take a vertical seat where I could stretch my legs over coach any day, as long as the seat is engineered such that it will take my full weight comfortably (ie with a harness of some sort) without cutting off circulation anywhere. I don’t think I’d want to fly Seattle to Tampa in one, or internationally, but a couple hours? Sure.

  19. selianth says:

    The picture in the source article makes it look like there will be an over-the-shoulders harness, like on a roller coaster. I could handle the standing for an hour-long flight, but that looks incredibly uncomfortable.

  20. satoru says:

    You’d have to rip out all the luggage bins overhead on the last few rows to get even ‘average’ people to be able to stand up on a flight. You’d have to check in everything if you were going to be in the standing room only section. That’s probably how they get you on the cost side by charging you for checked luggage you’re now forced to do.

  21. KhaiJB says:

    and then they’ll weld all these to a rack… strap the passengers in on check in, and just slot the rack into the aircraft……

  22. UltimateOutsider says:

    I never reserve bulkhead seats because I like being able to stuff my backpack under the seat in front of me, for when I’m allowed to get out my iPod or computer. Obviously this design precludes that (and perhaps overhead bins unless they allow short people only). If Ryanair does this for publicity, is it a success if the publicity ensures that I never, ever- even if paid to do so- would fly with them?

  23. MikieJag says:

    Has anyone even flow Ryanair? Theya re fantastic. You get what you get, no frills and no cost. Often they have 1 Euro cent flight, which after taxes/fees is about $20. The entire point of their business is to fly around Europe and the majority of flights are less then 2 hours.

    Living in Italy for 6 years, used them quite a bit, and there is nothing like a round trip flight to London for the weekend for less than $50.

    I would do it without hesitation. They are upfront about their prices and as long as you do not “American” pack (you know, everything from 5 pairs of shoes to a kitchen sink) you are good. About twice a month I would leave after work on Friday, be back by Sunday and visited Rome, Paris, London, Etc… Better than the $100 airfare, plus taxes, bags, etc each way here in USA.

    Just something to think about.

  24. leastcmplicated says:

    I’d consider it as well, have the outraged people here ever worked retail? I’ve stood for a lot longer than 2 hrs. 4 gbp is like $6!

  25. mikeyo says:

    The seat pitch on ryanair now is 30 inches, so if they are planning on putting 15 rows of standing seats where there were 10 rows of sitting seats, the pitch would have to be (10*30)/15 = 20 inches. After you take out a few inches for the seat itself, that sounds very claustrophobic.

  26. Arcaeris says:

    This reminds me a lot of the Riddler’s Revenge ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain. I would totally ride on a plane for an hour or two like this.

  27. jessjj347 says:

    I thought the Daily Mail is a tabloid?

  28. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Hell, at least there wouldn’t be any screaming chill’uns kicking the back of your seat.

  29. erratapage says:

    The problem with this is that enough people would choose this standing seat that it would eliminate the seated economy option, leaving people like me priced out of air travel except on the less economically viable short flights where I might be able to handle the stress on my bad leg and whiplashed neck. I’d rather see shorter air routes eliminated by high speed trains with airlines focusing on longer routes which are more profitable.

  30. gman863 says:

    Uh, someone forgot to tell Ryan Air about a silly little problem called “turbulence”.

    Think about the last time you were flying when the pilot turned on the “Fasten Seat Belt” light and a few minutes later it felt like you riding Space Mountain at Disney World. Now think about what would have happened if you had been standing up with no seat belt.

    Flight attendants are trained to handle this type of situation. Consumers aren’t. This “stand-up” routine will bomb the first time they have to take the 50 or so standing room only passengers off the plane on stretchers due to concussions and broken bones.

  31. Fenrisulfr says:

    Knowing airlines, this will catch on. Why not take the train?

  32. ej84 says:

    What about the “aroma” problem — and possibly not having enough oxygen?