The aviation industry is looking at scrapping seats on planes and making space for standing room only.
Fliers in the ‘standing section’ could be propped up by a padded backboard, held in place with a harness, the New York Times has reported.
The aim is to get more than 850 passengers into one of the new Airbus A380 superjumbos, which was designed to accomodate 500 passengers.
Airbus has approached carriers in Asia but none has agreed.
Volker Mellert, a physics professor at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, North West Germany, who carries out research for the EU and Airbus, said he had seen a display of what standing room only passengers could expect at an aviation exhibition in Hamburg.
“To call it a seat would be misleading. The passenger leans against an upright panel and is strapped in,” he said.
Airbus said in a statement after the story came out that, “Airbus simply does not offer a standing room option to our customers on our aircraft.”
According to MSNBC in a subsequent email, Airbus admitted the idea was studied and discarded in 2003.
“No one wanted it, it`s not certified and wouldn`t be comfortable, that`s what R&D is all about.”
There is no legal barrier to installing standing-room only seats. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, for example, does not require a passenger be in a sitting position for take off and landing - only secured.