Aircraft

Airbus turns aircraft cargo bays into spacious sleeping berths

Airbus turns aircraft cargo ba...
Airbus and Zodiac are developing a modular system that by 2020 will allow surplus cargo bays to be turned into sleeping accommodations
Airbus and Zodiac are developing a modular system that by 2020 will allow surplus cargo bays to be turned into sleeping accommodations
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the Airbus concept drawings propose modules that contain child play areas, a medical bay, a lounge, and a conference room complete with wraparound wall screens
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the Airbus concept drawings propose modules that contain child play areas, a medical bay, a lounge, and a conference room complete with wraparound wall screens
The Airbus concept includes the potential for conference room facilities, complete with wraparound wall screens, tucked away below deck
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The Airbus concept includes the potential for conference room facilities, complete with wraparound wall screens, tucked away below deck
Airbus and Zodiac are developing a modular system that by 2020 will allow surplus cargo bays to be turned into sleeping accommodations
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Airbus and Zodiac are developing a modular system that by 2020 will allow surplus cargo bays to be turned into sleeping accommodations

Sometimes air travel is so cramped that we grumble that they might as well put passengers in the cargo hold. It seems that Airbus has heard this and plans to do so – in a good way. In partnership with Zodiac Aerospace, Airbus is developing a modular system that will allow airlines to change their cargo bays into sleeper compartments for long-haul flights, complete with spacious bunks and other amenities.

If you look at old adverts for air travel from the 1940s and '50s, you may have come across interior views of the old China Clippers and Stratoliners with their lower decks containing Pullman-style sleeping accommodations, lounges, and even piano bars. Despite many efforts to revive these bits of gracious living in the skies, the jet age has ended up with amenities that often leave a lot to be desired – especially on long overseas flights when even the most palatial first class seat can seem like a convict transport cell after 14 hours.

Airbus and Zodiac are developing a modular system that by 2020 will allow airlines operating the Airbus A330 and, one day, the Airbus A350 XWB to change surplus cargo bays into sleeping accommodations. That may sound like you're going to be bunking with the pet crates, but the idea is a much more attractive. Long haul airliners already have surprisingly spacious crew accommodations tucked away below decks or in odd corners of the airframe that the paying customers are never aware off. This simply takes the idea one step further.

The Airbus concept includes the potential for conference room facilities, complete with wraparound wall screens, tucked away below deck
The Airbus concept includes the potential for conference room facilities, complete with wraparound wall screens, tucked away below deck

The partners haven't released too many details, but Airbus says that the modules will fit inside existing cargo compartments, can be swapped out easily, and will not interfere with normal cargo operations. In addition, Airbus has released a photo of the sleeping module mock up and concept drawings of modules that contain child play areas, a medical bay, a lounge, and a conference room complete with wraparound wall screens.

the Airbus concept drawings propose modules that contain child play areas, a medical bay, a lounge, and a conference room complete with wraparound wall screens
the Airbus concept drawings propose modules that contain child play areas, a medical bay, a lounge, and a conference room complete with wraparound wall screens

"This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort," says Geoff Pinner, Head of Airbus Cabin & Cargo Program. "We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups. We are pleased to partner with Zodiac Aerospace on this project which will introduce a new passenger experience and add value for airlines."

Source: Airbus

5 comments
yawood
I remember travelling on the Boeing 747 early in its career when Qantas (and others probably) had the upstairs as a lounge bar. In fact on one trip back to Australia from Singapore my toddler son needed to sleep across my seat and I was "forced" to sit in the lounge and drink (free) whisky all night.
guzmanchinky
Ok, so who gets the beds? Business and First already have beds, and coach has too many people. Not sure how this is supposed to work.
DOC HOLLYWOOD
Hyperloop all luggage...and convert airplane cargo holds into sleeper sections?
Trylon
This is the only way I would ever visit the Far East again. Saying 15 hours in an airline seat is not fun would be the understatement of the year.
Syberz
That's nice and all, but there's a reason I travel coach and it's not because I'm a masochist, it's because I'm too poor to pay a 3x to 5x premium for business or first class. How much are these limited beds going to be?