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Orion Airlines pushing for way to sell standing room tickets for flights

PHOENIX -- One local travel expert says at least one airline is pushing for a new way to cram more passengers onto its already crowded planes.

Louie Thiele, of KTAR News' "The Travel Show," said United Kingdom-based Orion airlines may have something up its sleeve.

"The Orion air guy has been after a patent (for) standing room in the planes," he said. "It includes having some kind of a bicycle seat that you brace against and you're strapped to a pole and standing up for the whole flight. He wants to put even more people on the plane."

Meanwhile, Thiele said the airlines don't seem to care about the lack of legroom on their planes and are not likely to add to it. There have been three recent incidents where a lack of space between seats has led to confrontations between airline passengers.

"The only thing the airlines look at is daily revenue and the price of fuel," explained Thiele. "The price of fuel could get worse, and this situation could get worse, believe it or not."

Thiele added that with the price of fuel, it's all about the bottom line.

"The airlines are long past caring about passenger comfort, unless you're willing to pay for first class or business class on an international flight," he said.

He also remembered a comment from an airline industry executive talking about why there are more seats and less leg room on the plane.

"I once was at a conference and heard the president of American Airlines at the time say, 'Passengers get the seats that they deserve,'" he said. "He meant that passengers don't want to pay higher prices, so we're going to have to put more seats on the plane because of higher fuel prices or whatever."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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