“We make millions of dreams”

By | Category: Travel rumblings

If VivaColombia’s founder and head man, William Shaw, had his way passengers travelling on his airline could pay less by standing all the way.

Luckily for passengers, the Colombian Civil Aviation Director, Alfredo Bocanegra, has poured cold water on the idea.

It looks as though Mr Shaw is trying to grab the mantle of saying outrageous things about airline passengers from Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair. Oddly enough though there is a connection.  VivaColombia is one of a number of low cost airlines developed by Irelandia Aviation run by Declan Ryan. And yes, Declan is the son of Tony the man who set up and gave his name to Ryanair. Declan Ryan was a non-executive director for 18 years until he resigned in 2003.

But does Shaw really believe he has any chance of persuading aviation authorities around the world to allow passengers to stand? Surely he must be making comments just for publicity purposes, a claim also made about O’Leary in the old days before the customer service ethos seems to have altered his views.

The airline website claims (in Spanish) “We make millions of dreams.” That’s dreams not nightmares and it would be nightmarish if we had to stand. And dangerous. Try hanging on the hand pulls on the underground in London. A sudden stop and you knock each other. Imagine what it would be like if turbulence occurred.

He is quoted in the Miami Herald as saying, “Who cares if you don’t have an in-flight entertainment system for a one hour flight. Who care that there aren’t marble floors…or that you don’t get free peanuts? And maybe some day, people won’t care if there are seats either.”

I agree with him about not needing entertainment on a short flight and eve with the provision of food. Readers will know that I have often taken my own and even shared it with the cabin crew. But just as charging for on-board toilets will never happen under existing international guidelines so I can never see people standing.

Yet despite trying to get as many passengers on as is possible, the airline made a loss last year. That concerns me more. Why aren’t prices slightly higher so that he can at least break-even? It sounds as though the mass market won’t pay more. If that is true, how long will this five year old airline last?

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