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Airbus proposes cost-saving 'standing class', says NYT

How do you get 853 people into an A380?

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Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has come up with a cunning plan to cram 853 unfortunate passengers into its new A380 - make them all stand up strapped to a padded backboard, the New York Times reports.

The new "live veal calf export class" has been proposed to Asian carriers, but none has taken up the sensational idea, the paper reports.

German researcher Volker Mellert, who's seen the design for the proposed restraint, stressed that it would only be used for short-haul flights, such "such as island-hopping in Japan".

An airbus spokeswoman, meanwhile, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "I can't comment, I am not aware [of it]."

Which is unsurprising, since when the Guardian's news blog made contact with Airbus after running a piece on the NYT report, a spokesperson described the whole thing as "a fantastic story but not true".

The official added: "It is not something that Airbus has been working on and if flies in the face of what we're doing with the A380, which is more room. We can assure you it is not an Airbus idea, we have not talked about it inside Airbus and our customers have not asked us about such an idea."

Accordingly, Airbus has asked the NYT to print a correction.

One thing is true, though - it is actually a terrific idea. For the record, an A380 fitted with seats is designed to carry up to 555 people. An extra 300-odd crammed into every flight will doubtless help the airlines squeeze a little profit from what has been, up to now, virtually an exercise in charitable public transport with no expense spared to provide passengers with the last word in jet-set luxury. ®

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