Passengers Forced To Stand During Flight Because There Weren't Enough Seats

While airlines like RyanAir mull over “standing-room seating” and designers create plane seats that will bring tears to your eyes, one airline in Russia figured out how to get passengers to stand up during a flight — just tell them to.

On Sept. 24, passengers were about to board a Tatarstan Airlines flight in Turkey when they were told that this particular Boeing 737 had six less seats than the airline had planned on.

The solution? Have the remaining half-dozen passengers stand up for the flight to Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Recalls one passenger:

The adults had no choice but to fly standing for five hours… When the plane flew through turbulence, they went from standing to sitting in the aisle where naturally they had no safety belts.

The passengers who were left standing during the flight have reportedly asked for around $4,750 each in compensation, but the tour company which booked their flight offered them only $206.

That tour company is saying they aren’t ultimately responsible because the passengers had a choice:

People had a choice – to fly on that plane standing up, or wait seven hours for another plane… All the tourists decided to fly back despite uncomfortable conditions.

Would you have ever gotten on the plane if you were told you needed to stand or sit in the aisle?

Standing room only: Passengers on Russian tourist flight forced to stand due to lack of seats [Daily Mail]


Edit Your Comment

  1. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    No problem. Knock the price down by about 80% and we can talk.

    • knoxblox says:

      Agreed. If I had to get home badly enough, and the price was right, I’d crawl up into the overhead bin.

      Of course, I’ve been on various kinds of public transportation in eastern Europe, and don’t really think standing on a plane is much worse than riding in overcrowded marschrutkas, trolleys, or passenger trains.

      • YOXIM says:

        Haha so this. I’m from eastern Europe and you’d be surprised the kind of bucket of bolts modes of transportation I have ridden on. Trains and buses that are literally falling apart and where people have to stand all the time. It’s like par for the course. If you don’t get on the train or bus early enough, kiss that seat good bye. Therefore, if I was given a good enough discount on my ticket, I probably wouldn’t mind sitting down in the aisle of the airplane.

      • bravohotel01 says:

        You’ve never been in heavy turbulence, then. Make sure you have your headstone picked out.

        The Wife–an ex-trolly-dolly–relayed some stories about sudden drops of 50-100′ that made me decide to never unbuckle except for potty breaks…and maybe not even then.

        • knoxblox says:

          Not heavy turbulence, but I have been skydiving (a lot less protection).
          I’m guessing you’ve never been in a trolley that jumped the tracks or a marschrutka that tipped over while going down a hill…

  2. Sword_Chucks says:

    I wouldn’t have got on if the airline had guaranteed me a seat on the next plane, plus offered vouchers for food and access to a lounge while I waited. Otherwise, Id have sued, but this is turkey, so maybe I cant sue… hmmm. I dont think I would have gotten on. Wouldn’t take much to get hurt in that situation

  3. Talisker says:

    At least it isn’t as bad as Air India, where the passengers ride on the roof.

    Maybe that was a train.

  4. JollyJumjuck says:

    The next thing that will happen is strapping passengers to the outside of the plane because the inside is so overbooked.

    • Robert Nagel says:

      Will they be able to smoke?

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        Have you tried lighting a cigarette at 500 mph? I think it’ll take more than a dinky little Bic.

        As to be seated next to the engine. I hear there’s more legroom.

      • Bob says:

        The airline regulations say no smoking inside the aircraft so if they are strapped to the outside of the plane the no-smoking regulations don’t apply.

  5. DancesWithBadgers says:

    I do my own standing in the aisle at home…

    You couldn’t pay me enough to stand for a five hour flight.

    • Pax says:

      Frankly, you couldn’t pay me enought o sit down, while a half-dozen OTHER adults were standing.

      Something bad happens, and each one of them potentially becomes a 150+ pound missile of doom, bouncing around and breaking people all over the place. NO, THANK YOU.

  6. dreamfish says:

    Better than being made to run along behind.

  7. satoru says:

    I know this is Russia and the airline is pretty tiny with only a few planes. But even Russia still has some decent airline safety standards. I’m pretty sure flying with more passengers than seats is a violation of a few dozen safety codes.

  8. Blueskylaw says:

    I guess when you fly Tatarstan Airlines you have no Passengers Bill of Rights.

  9. Promethean Sky says:

    When I was a child, I used to ride in the back of my father’s panel van either standing or sitting on the floor. He was also a reckless driver, and would hit speed bumps at +30 mph. I fear no airplane. I also do not fear death.

    • ninabi says:

      Perhaps you have no fear of death, but could I interest you in a fractured pelvis or closed head injury courtesy of Tatarstan(d) Air?

      • PanCake BuTT says:

        Your offer sounds very tempting, & upon further noggin’ it, I have choosen to take you up on your offer. Where do I sign ? & where do I sit or stand ?

    • bravohotel01 says:

      A plane goes just a tiny bit faster* than 30 mph, and can drop a minuscule bit more** than the 1-2 feet those speed bumps stood.

      * Try 20x
      ** Try 50-100x

      Who’s laughing now?

  10. HogwartsProfessor says:

    HELL NO.

  11. rooben says:

    In Soviet Russia, the plane flies you!

  12. MostlyHarmless says:

    Almost completely off topic..

    I am the man who arranges the block that continue to fall from up above

  13. zeiman says:

    Hmmm, as Turkey is a candidate member for inclusion to the EU and not a full member, I am not sure that the EU aviation rules apply. If they did apply, this was certainly a big violation and the airline could be fined for millions. For the passengers, in addition to being offered guaranteed seats on the next flight, the airline would need to offer them $1,200 cash on the spot for the inconvenience of having to wait 7 hours for the next flight.

  14. MaxPower says:

    In Soviet Russia, planes flies you!

  15. Mike says:

    If they made me stand I’d better be able to listen to my MP3 player during takeoff and landing, I ain’t stowing anything.

    As someone who has travelled in the back of pickup trucks with 20 people and 200 chickens, been on trains where the toilet was a hole on the floor that let your business drop directly onto the track, got stuck in the middle of arctic water because the tiny ferry I was on got its props stuck in a fishing net, and once had to stop walking because I realized I was in a mine field, standing on a plane would not be that big of a deal to me.

    • Charmander says:

      For five hours, though?

      Walking around is one thing, but standing motionless for 5 hours…..I can’t imagine that would be very comfortable at all.

      • Mike says:

        “went from standing to sitting in the aisle”

        To be honest sitting in the aisle sounds a LOT better than an airplane seat. I am 6’6″ 210lbs. and do NOT fit in the seats at all. I think I could be a lot more comfortable will a couple pillows stretched out on the floor. In fact, that sounds really nice.

  16. Anaxamenes says:

    The other passengers on the plane should have been concerned about the standing passengers. They could have become very heavy objects during turbulence and been a danger to the seated passengers. The FAA should bar this airline from ever coming within a thousand miles of the US.

  17. Merujo says:

    Oh kids, this is not new, nor is it news for anyone who lived in the good old Soviet Union. I survived 56 flights on Aeroflop, and I can regale you with horror stories for days, including: 1) people standing on flights/spending the whole flight with the toilet as their paid seat/people huddled in the walk-on baggage area of a massive jumbo set; 2)aisles completely blocked with watermelons and goats (after the flight crew was bribed out on the tarmac); 3) getting to inspect a plane to see if a companion and I would be willing to be passengers on it – and discovered half the seats were burned; 4) seatback pockets full of vomit; 5) a wheel falling off a plane… over on Facebook, some of my fellow former Moscow dwellers and I started a thread of our favorite Soviet/Russian aircraft nightmares. Good times, good times…

  18. TasteyCat says:

    The airline should have never given them the choice and just told them to get on the next plane (of course, then, we’d be reading a story about how they were stranded at the airport for 7 hours). They made their own bed through their decision to be too impatient to hang around the airport for a while, and they deserved what they got.

    • physics2010 says:

      See Consumerist post about passengers who had to wait 7 hours for another plane because there were not enough seats.

  19. El_Red says:

    Ha! this is in the same country as the pilot exiting to clients withan axe, and threatening potential terrorists with it. ( Basically, I have an axe and not afraid to use it agains you darn $@&$$@ terrorists , speech). This is a true story. Nothing surprises me any more.

  20. Pax says:

    Would you have ever gotten on the plane if you were told you needed to stand or sit in the aisle?

    Hell no.

  21. yesthatsteve says:

    In 1985, I was on a Pan-Am flight to Berlin that had people standing all the way down the aisle. The flight before mine was canceled, and they crammed as many of those passengers onto the remaining flights that day, available seats or not. No idea what kind of consideration those people got.

  22. packcamera says:

    Once on an Aeroflot (Aeroflop) flight, I had to sit in the folding flight attendant seat for a 7 hour flight next to a pair of runny nose toddlers and a giant dog (cross between a St. Bernard and a grizzly) that was as equally snotty, also bounced from their seats due to overbooking. They decided to pick the smallest passengers to re-seat in these rumble seats – needless to say the attendants stood the entire flight, so I really had little to complain about.

  23. KyBash says:

    To get out of Turkey? I’d have volunteered to be strapped to the wing!

  24. txhoudini says:

    I once took a small European carrier from London to Barcelona. It was a 737. They allowed us to use only two bathrooms (one up front, one in the rear) and the rest were used to store luggage. During turbulence the luggage came tumbling out. After the turbulence no one from the airline thought to put it back away. It just sat out in the aisles for the remaining hour or so. I expect in the eyes of airlines passengers are just baggage that near air so whats the difference?

  25. RonYnz says:

    Looks like they got basted in Turkey.

  26. Urgleglurk says:

    The carrier should have denied them boarding involuntarily. Period. Standing for an entire flight is a hazard to them and everyone else on board.
    Not only would I not have gotten on the plane, I would never have flown on that carrier again. Ever. It’s obvious they have major problems…I wonder what else would be found by a thorough investigation?

  27. Muirin says:

    If you read the article carefully they were never forced to stand. They choose to get on the plane themselves knowing the their were not enough seats for them and the unsafe conditions. The issue here should be how they were even given the choose and that no one stopped it from happening.

  28. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I like to stand during flights, but not the entire flight. They should rotate; musical seats. In the vast majority of plane crashes, seatbelts do you no good anyway (my guess). I want planes to have bed bunks like trains do, and standing areas with some treadmills. That’s my fantasy.

    I’ve rode on trains in China (not the tourist ones) the planes could not be any worse than that.