Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is looking to provide luxurious sleeping pods in the cargo holds of its passenger planes within the next two years.
Planes such as the A330-800 series, the world’s largest, would offer something like the efficient ‘pod hotel’ capsules devised in Japan and expanded under the Yotel brand for travellers at some of the world’s major cities.
Airbus reasons that because the cargo holds in many planes are often half full, the otherwise wasted space could be adapted to house slide-in/slide-out sleeping modules, children’s playrooms, conference rooms complete with wi-fi, even emergency medical theatres.
The European company has said it would be relatively easy to retro-fit the cargo holds of existing planes to suit their workloads.
Those flying short-haul routes would more than likely utilise space for cargo. But bigger planes flying non-stop 17- and 18-hour journeys, like Auckland to Dubai, or Singapore to New York, would have upgraded sleeping quarters with lie-flat beds.
Not that passengers would be stuck there for the duration of the flight – they’d be able to move via a private staircase between their cabin of choice upstairs and their sleeping quarters downstairs.
The final design, pricing, and other details are still in the works. It remains to be seen whether passengers will need to reserve the pods in advance or be able to upgrade mid-flight.
The first “cargo hold suites” are expected to roll out sometime in 2020. No indication yet which of the world’s airlines will be first to offer the service.
There are more than 1250 A330 variants in use by the world’s largest international air carriers.