New Basic Economy? Passengers Fly On 1,700 Mile Flight Standing In The Aisle
On the same week that American and United Airlines started selling basic economy fares, a story came out from Pakistan International Airlines putting passengers on a plane to stand in the aisle of a flight, since the flight was full.
On a January 20th flight from Karachi, Pakistan to Medina, Saudi Arabia, the airline acknowledges that they allowed people on the airplane to stand in the aisle. They even went so far as to provide handwritten boarding passes for those passengers that did not have an actual seat on the aircraft. The flight was on a Boeing 777 and there were 416 passengers on board, despite the fact that there is only room on the aircraft for 409 people.
According to BBC,
It quotes flight captain Anwer Adil as insisting that he was not told about the extra passengers until after take-off.
“I … noticed [that] some people were those who were categorically refused jump [staff] seats by me at the check-in counter before the flight”, he was quoted by Dawn as saying.
“I had already taken off and the senior purser did not inform me about extra passengers before closing the aircraft door.
“Therefore after take-off [any] immediate landing back at Karachi was not possible as it required a lot of fuel dumping which was not in the interest of the airline.”
This causes a number of problems, but the greatest problem is how this would impact passenger safety in the event of an emergency. First off, the passengers standing would have no ability to brace themselves for a hard landing or unintended contact with the ground. Secondly, aircraft are carefully designed for safety, and an increased number of passengers would make it harder for people to evacuate the aircraft in the event of an emergency.
Let’s hope none of the U.S. carriers see this story, they may just start asking the FAA for clearance to offer standing room only tickets, dubbed lower basic economy, so they can be so kind as to provide more people the opportunity to travel (this is, of course sarcasm, sort of).