Airbus is considering the introduction of standing room only at the back of its aircraft, according to press reports. Is putting passengers in harnesses a step forward in air travel, and what other blue-sky innovations could ‘improve’ the flying experience?

Trains, buses and Tubes have offered this option for years, so why not aeroplanes? Standing is not the first choice for most long-having to clamber over sleeping passengers to get to the toilet would be good. Clothing free of creases, no table, so no airline meals – I’m convinced. Strap me in, Scotty.

Dave Dragon, Creative director, Clinic

Stop press! The escalating race between major airlines, delivering executives to far-away destinations, arriving refreshed and well rested, reaches its foregone conclusion with the imminent introduction of the Suspended Animation Class by a recently-formed consortium of future-thinking airlines. Check-in lounges serve suitable pre-flight drinks as you hit the SAC and fall into a hypnotically-induced, dreamless sleep that maintains your body at optimum levels for a predetermined time, but also, subliminally, imprints the safety demonstration at the forefront of your memory.

David Bicknell, Creative director, Echo Brand Design

It is certainly not a step forward. Airlines seem to spend their development effort making life better for the minority who travel at the front of the aeroplane, while the majority travel in a state of high discomfort. Get the basics right before anything else – seats that support bad backs, toilets that you can manoeuvre in, luggage compartments that you can reach and sound insulation that works. After that, we can consider ‘blue-sky thinking’.

Raymond Turner, Raymond Turner Associates

This is an interesting and innovative notion – at least from the airlines’ perspective – as it could, certainly, allow for increased passenger load and reduced ticket-pricing. And, within some parts of the world, it may, in fact, be an acceptable – or even popular – innovation. But, from a brand perspective, are airlines (and aircraft manufacturers) truly considering, or perhaps completely ignoring, their passengers’ real needs through innovations such as this?

Bill Larsen, Executive director, Landor Associates

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