Imagine you be able to sleep in a bed while you’re boarding a long haul flight 35,000 feet in the sky is soon to be a reality, fantastic right? Well, the largest European Airplane maker Airbus has partnered with France’s Zodiac Aerospace found a new way to fit the bed cabin into the Airbus A330 jets and it will be available to airlines earliest by 2020.
But there’s a catch which passenger will have to sleep in the cargo hold, Whut! Sleep in a cargo hold would it be weird since it was designed for holding cargo not the passenger and we’ve heard it was unpressurized in the cargo area? Well, that doesn’t need to worry since the idea came from Airbus and they are the one who designed & made the aircraft, of course, they will find a way to work around.
The mini-cabins is actually a module pre-constructed with beds that can be slotted into the cargo hold and it is completely separated from the main economy & business class seating area in the aircraft. It is an option for airlines to decide whether these cabins to be included in their fleet.
According to a spokesperson for Zodiac Aerospace speaking at the Aircraft Interiors Exhibition (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, said the modular mini-cabin came in different design and can be swap in & out or completely remove for regular cargo.
The concept is simple as imagine it was a container that can be slotted into the cargo hold exactly the same way as the traditional cargo did, then each of the modules will need to be connected to the aircraft for electricity, water & other services. In theory, it would be possible for airlines to remove or change individual modules according to their needs.
At the current stage, Airbus only showcase their double-decker beds on either side of the corridor, but more are coming in their mock-up drawing such as larger spaces for families, meeting rooms, lounges and areas for children to play.
We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on out first mock-ups.”
Geoff Pinner, head of cabin and cargo operations at Airbus, said in a statement.
Regarding the exact use & pricing for the mini-cabins add-on is yet to be determined, the entire concept is still currently being tested by Zodiac & Airbus in a full-size A330 aircraft, so we won’t be able seeing these min-cabins flying until 2020 or 2021.
According to Airbus, there are 1,300 retrofit A330s currently in service around the world with carriers including Air China, Etihad Airways & Lufthansa, so once the mini-cabins is ready for production we should be able to see these cabin available in the airlines mentioned above but still depend on the airlines decision whether to have such add-on.
Airbus is also considering introducing these mini-cabins to their existing A350 XWB aircraft which also already in service by Delta, Qatar Airways & Singapore Airlines.
Stay tuned, air travelling will never be the same once this concept rolled out, a step change towards passenger comfort in the commercial air travel.