According to a study conducted by Irish airline Ryanair, 42 percent of passengers said they would be willing to stand on short flights for half-priced tickets. Buck up, Ireland! What kind of country turns down hundred-dollar rebates for fear of one-hour foot soreness? There are already plenty of Americans who regularly stand for an hour to travel cheaply. They're called New Yorkers!


New Yorker commute times are already pushing subway strap-hangers near the physical arduousness of Native American tribal standing rituals. One study from the Center for an Urban Future found that some Queens dwellers averaged over 50 minutes per subway commute. To be sure, these far-out commuters aren't going to have to stand the whole time, each way, every day. But if you factor in walking, you're still talking one and a half hours of bipedal commute time for millions of people every day.

And the savings! A flight next weekend from DC to NYC will run you around $200. A flight to Boston will be closer to $300. Standing for half-off wouldn't be a bad option. Moreover, the "vertical seats" being considered by Ryanair would have to strap you back, so you're not really standing so much as leaning back into the loving (affordable!) embrace of the airplane seatbelt.

To be clear, I'm not asking Continental to gut the back of Coach on its cross-country 757 flights to California and replace those rows with vertical "chairs." But especially for young people making frequent short trips along, say, the East Coast circuit between DC, NYC, Philly and Boston, I can imagine enthusiasm for an airline policy that saves hundreds of dollars for a little foot ache.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.