World airlines aren"t known for their kid glove treatment of coach customers but a Russian airline set Spartan transportation to new heights: standing room only.
Six passengers were forced to stand during a recent flight, according to ABC News.
"It appears to be a violation of European aviation standards and poses several questions, not just about comfort but safety. The six passengers were apparently without their own life vests or oxygen masks, let alone seatbelts in case of a rough landing, turbulence or a crash," the news site said.
The Tatarstan Airlines flight from Antalya, Turkey to Ekaterinburg, Russia was fully booked with a tour group. At the last second, a Boeing 737 with 148 seats was replaced with another one that only had room for 142 passengers.
So the six were forced to stand for the five-hour flight.
The tour company, according to local media reports, offered the passengers a choice: wait seven hours for another flight or stand for the five-hour flight back to Russia. All chose to stand, although they are now seeking US$4,700 in compensation. The tour company offered about $200.
Irish carrier Ryanair -- the worldwide leader in outlandish ideas -- has floated the concept of standing-room-only seating. But European regulators quickly dismissed the idea.
Last year, Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier in China, tried to get regulators there to approve a plane redesign to allow some standing passengers.
So far, no government has been willing to back such a plan. But who knows? Precedents are being set.
By David Wilkening
Tuesday, October 5, 2010