Currently, only dogs and cats are transported in the cargo hold in the relative luxury of a temperature and pressurized compartment separate from luggage. In the near future, people will be able to book themselves into the cargo hold too!
Actually, it is not as bad as it sounds, particularly compared to an economy seat on a budget airline like Easyjet which we recently reviewed.
Airbus has partnered with France’s Zodiac Aerospace to come up with this new concept: cargo sleeper berths. They have been designed for the Airbus A330 planes and will be available to airlines by 2020.
These mini cabins or “modules” sit directly on the cargo floor. Airlines will be able to swap the sleeping modules in and out of planes in place of regular cargo containers.
You can see the mock-up of the look above. It certainly looks a bit weird. Windowless cabins in the belly of a plane do not sound like a brilliant way to travel in luxury. But in fact, the concept is not that different from the Emirates windowless First Class suites that sit in the middle the cabin with the sky projected onto the wall of your suite.
The same concept could be used in these cabins, and the option of being able to lie down in privacy has got to be a major selling point for passengers, so the airline will be able to sell these cabins for a nice premium. With a bit of luck, this kind of flatbed travel could offer passengers a cheaper way to sleep on long-haul flights, particularly if they pack in enough bunks.
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