Long-haul flights are a necessary evil and I was intrigued this week to see Air New Zealand launch the world’s first sleeping capsules for economy class travelers.
This is rare good news for aviation design. I’m still crying over Ryanair’s idea to remove toilets from airplanes And his Skyrider concept, a “standing seat” from hell.
It’s baaaaaak! The AvioInteriors Skyrider saddle seat returns to #AIX18 after the controversial reception. Will the fact that 28” is normal on low cost carriers mean that a 23” squat for a (very) short flight seems more #PaxEx tasty? #avgeek pic.twitter.com/zLylr91NiT
— John Walton 🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@thatjohn) Apr 10, 2018
Fortunately, it’s not all bad. There are plenty of people who design aircraft interiors with passenger comfort in mind. Here are some of the latest (and greatest) ideas:
If you’re on long-haul flights, all you want to do is lie flat. And now you can – all without spending money on tickets that require a mortgage.
Yes, I’m talking about Air New Zealand sleeping capsules. Each bunk unit has its own mattress, sheets, privacy curtain, USB charger and ventilation.
However, the pods are communal and passengers can only book a pod for four hours.
Worse, there are only six pods per plane. A plane flies about 200 passengers, so assuming they fly about 24 in different four hour shifts, there will be 176 other passengers who are extremely pissed that they didn’t get a booking.
Just wait for the air rage, folks.
The cloud capsule is designed to increase passenger comfort and earn the airline more money.
The pay-extra capsules sit above the outboard aisles and can be used for sleeping, relaxing or concentrating on work in a private setting.
So it’s a bit like letting people sleep in an upper cupboard. Or you can just lie there and feel the burning resentment of those unlucky enough to sit beneath you. A little creepy, but it’s not like I’d say no.
SpaceChiller by Collins Aerospace is a personal minibar that takes half the power of traditional designs.
SpaceChiller uses advanced heat sinks, originally developed by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), reducing power consumption by up to 50% over alternative thermoelectric systems and allowing use in multiple service areas and passenger seats.
I like the idea of not having to ask for a drink at 3am when I’m digging into the crap the airline has decided I should watch. Bring it on.
Imagine a cabin with natural materials and ‘floating furniture’ attached to wall brackets for easy storage underneath. Designed by teague and NORDAM, the design creates space without reducing seating capacity.
The downside, of course, is that you’ll probably need some serious coin to afford it, but I can dream.
Chaise lounge airplane seat
You can blame TU Delft for this design. It is the brainchild of graduate student Alejandro Núñez Vicente who told: CNN Travel of his goal to “change the economy class seats for the benefit of humanity, or for all the people who cannot afford to pay more expensive tickets.”
High ambition or masochistic design?
I like the bottom storage for those sitting above, and I’m short enough to sit in a top seat so close to the ceiling, it wouldn’t bother me. But I don’t like my chance of staying upright when I get off – especially after a few gin and tonics.
But while some marvel at Núñez Vicente’s innovation, the internet is divided, with posters on reddit concerned about the ease of evacuation, the risk of breaking your knees and claustrophobia for the bottom passenger. One commenter stated: “just stun me and put me in a drawer already…’
Vincente is apparently in talks with investors and airlines.
The coffee house hut
This design is a winner from last year Crystal Cabin Awards in the University Students category, but I love it so I decided to share it with you.
A long table runs through the center of the cabin, creating a convenient space for remote work, meetings and coffee. Imagine. You can open your laptop without fear of the idiot in front of you pushing his chair back and breaking it.
While most of these ideas are in the design stage rather than the commercial stage, it’s clear that flying — especially luxury aviation – is still incredibly popular. As we create new airplane modes, we need new cabin interiors, and these designs could be the start of something great.