Flying an ultra-long route in economy is torture. But Airbus and airplane interior design company Safran have created a great concept using the cargo bays of airplanes.
If you live in the US and have traveled to Asia, Australia, or even Argentina, you know what a pain it is to sit down in a barebones economy seat through a 16-hour flight. Even while you can walk up and down the aisle to try not to suffer thrombosis, it’s the worst. I did it to India and I still have nightmares.
Which is why Airbus has worked with cabin interior designers Safran to develop a new more human low-cost system that got the companies the 2018 Crystal Cabin Awards in the “Cabin Concept” category: the Lower Deck Pax Experience Modules.
According to the companies, the modules are an extension space for economy passengers in the airplanes’ cargo bay. The modules include beds, playgrounds for kids, stretching areas, and a business center to work comfortably rather than trying to fit your laptop in the tiny train between the front seat and your belly.
The cabin — all white and with lots of space between each component — has been designed to give passengers peace. Even without windows, it looks like a place in which I would like to lay down and sleep for the night — or work for a few hours in a nice place.
In theory, economy passengers will be able to upgrade to this common space for a lot less money than going first class. A round trip New York-Tokyo flight on Japan Airlines will approximately set you back a whopping $20,000.
The modules are designed to fit inside the cargo compartments of long-haul Airbus planes like the A340. They created them to be easily interchangeable with regular cargo containers, so airlines can expand or contract these spaces depending on availability and consumer choice.
Of course, this is all a concept for now but, with airlines trying to differentiate themselves and having travel options at many different price points to try to squeeze every single dollar out of every drop of gas, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this in a real plane in the coming years. I will fly it for sure.