Qantas installs stateroom seats for ultra-long-distance flights
As part of its Project Sunrise for ultra-long-distance international flights, Qantas is showing off the new Business Class and First Class seats that will be installed in its future Airbus A350-1000 fleet and that convert into little staterooms to make 22-hour flights more endurable.
Until supersonic passenger aircraft are reintroduced, the only real room for improvement in international flights is to strive for longer range for subsonic aircraft. Called "the last frontier of global aviation" by Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO, Project Sunrise aims at transoceanic flights from the East Coast of Australia, to Europe and North America that will last 18 to 22 hours.
From an engineering point of view, it's a perfectly reasonable goal and one that the twin-engine Airbus A350-1000 with its range of 10,000 miles (16,000 km) makes feasible. However, from a passenger's point of view, non-stop flights lasting an entire day could be less a pleasurable trip and more of a trial of endurance.
In the past, such long flights would have been the purview of airships that traveled so slow that it took between five and 10 days to cross the Atlantic. Sitting in a modern air passenger seat for that long would probably rate today as a human rights violation, but airships had the upside of having lots of space on board that could be allocated for staterooms, dining rooms, observation galleries, and even smoking lounges.
Jetliners don't have room for that sort of luxury and the flying piano bar vanished decades ago, so the alternative is to be a bit more clever with the seating. Built by Safran Seats in design collaboration with Caon Studios and Charles Perkins Centre (CPC) in Sydney, the 52 new Unity First Class and Business seats that will be installed in the A350-1000 squeeze a lot into a small space while adding a dash of privacy.
The six First Class seats are essentially little staterooms with their own doors and, in addition to the usual infotainment system with 32-inch screen, boast a parallel rectangular bed next to the wide seat, numerous cubby holes and stowage options, including a pajama drawer, and a large console and a large single-piece dining table.
Meanwhile, the Business Class seats have their own doors, stowage areas, and the seats are staggered to allow a leg compartment to extend well into the seat ahead and act as a side table, but lets the seat behind fold down into a full-length bed like a pilot berth on a sailboat.
"The first Sunrise flight will mark a date in history," said Victoria Foy, CEO of Safran Seats. "We are delighted to provide Qantas with seats that meet the needs of ultra-long-haul flights and which allow a comfortable journey for all passengers. The creation of this seat is a demonstration of the remarkable collaboration between Qantas and the Safran Seats teams based in the United Kingdom."
Source: Safran Seats