The report had come out yesterday (that is to say, I heard about it yesterday, which probably means it's been out for a few days now), and was probably fueled in part by rising oil prices driving the demand for more mass transportation. I bought into it at first. I was even ready to help Airbus with their new ad campaign:
Airbus: Your Chicken Bus in the Sky
I don't see the "standing room only" concept ever really taking off with airlines; pun intended. For one thing, most folks would be awfully tired after taxiing on the runway for three hours before their 45 minute flight. For another, I can imagine the slight G-loads on takeoff being a bit much for even the average traveller.
As a Guatemalan chicken bus veteran, I can tell you that airlines got nuthin' on your average Guatemalan bus driver. (Note to liberal readers of this blog: these comments do NOT equal racism. These are recollections of one who was there - albeit 28 years ago - risking his life to spread the Gospel.)
Bus drivers in Guatemala typically drove in two styles: overcrowded and slow enough to be passed by Congress [rim shot], or overcrowded and fast enough to qualify at Daytona. The Daytona variety of driver was able to pull G-loads you only get in your average F-18 with afterburners. In fact, the Daytona drivers were generally responsible for sending the Congressional drivers to the bottom of various barrancos in our area.
So, even if Airbus were to offer standing room passage on their planes, I remain unimpressed. Now, when they begin strapping passengers on top of the plane with a basket of chickens fresh from the market, then I'll be impressed.
Just in case you ever make it to Guatemala and you wish to experience, first hand, the thrills of the local bus routes, here's the list:
I have very fond memories of Guatemalan mass transit.