Long-haul flights can be hell! For overly tall passengers, people with disabilities or small children, there is little respite from the cramped conditions of economy-class. It is no secret that legroom on commercial airlines is generally disappearing, inch by inch and unless you’re willing to pay as much as ten times the price of your fare, an upgrade to first class is out of reach and out of the question for most travelers. But there are exciting developments in the works that may solve all our problems sleeping on clouds.
Whilst many passengers use pillows, medication, wine and noise cancelling headphones to shut themselves out from the cramped quarters, others just struggle to get any sleep and shy away from such flights as a result. Developments such as Air New Zealand’s SkyCouch are a fantastic innovation that gives you a fully flat bed in economy class. The catch is you have to purchase three seats to accommodate the request. But Airbus may have the answer as it works with Zodiac Aerospace, which is known for designing aircraft crew quarters. In what has been names ‘Lower Deck Modules’, Airbus plans to utilise its planes cargo holds as extra space for passengers.
And it’s not just more seats! Airbus has described the potential for multi-bed suites that would fit snugly into the hold. The additional room could accommodate fully flat beds. That would solve a lot of problems! Other potential uses for space include conference rooms, Medical treatment centres or game zones and lounges. Being a modular system, they could be swapped out when the plane is loading to suit demand.
With many airlines now charging for baggage, passengers are travelling lighter and lighter, thus reducing the demand for space in the cargo hold. Airbus figures that this space could be of great commercial gain and comfort to passengers. Whilst it’s just a pipedream at the moment, what do you think? Could you see yourself forking out extra for a full lounge or bedroom on a plane?