Long haul flights are a necessary evil and this week I was intrigued to see that Air New Zealand is launching the world’s first sleeping pods for economy passengers.
This is rare good news for aviation design. I’m still hurt by Ryanair’s idea of remove airplane toilets forks sky rider concept, a “standing seat” from the pits of hell.
It’s back! The AvioInteriors Skyrider saddle returns to #AIX18 after its controversial reception. Does the fact that 28″ is normal on low-cost airlines mean that a 23″ squat for a (very) short flight seems more #PaxEx tasty? #avgeek pic.twitter.com/zLylr91NiT
— John Walton 🏳️🌈🇪🇺 (@thatjohn) April 10, 2018
Fortunately, not everything is bad. There are many people who design aircraft interiors with passenger comfort in mind. Here are some of the latest (and best) ideas:
When you’re flying long distances, all you want to do is stay flat. And now you can, all without shelling out tickets for which you need a mortgage.
Yes, I’m talking about Air New Zealand sleeping pods. Each bunk unit has its own mattress, sheets, privacy curtain, USB charging, and ventilation.
However, the pods are communal and passengers can only reserve one pod for four hours.
Worse yet, there are only six pods per plane. A plane carries about 200 passengers, so assuming they serve about 24 in various four-hour shifts, there will be another 176 passengers who will be very upset that they didn’t get a reservation.
Just wait for the wrath of the air, people.
The cloud pod is designed to increase passenger comfort while making the airline more money.
The extra pay pods are located above the exterior corridors and can be used to sleep, relax or focus on work in a private setting.
So it’s a bit like having people sleeping in an upper locker. Or you can just stand there and feel the burning resentment of those unlucky enough to be sitting below you. A touch creepy, but it’s not like I’m saying no.
space chiller by collins aerospace it’s a personal minibar that requires half the power of traditional designs.
SpaceChiller uses advanced heat sinks, initially developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which reduces energy consumption by up to 50% compared to alternative thermoelectric systems and can be used in multiple areas of service and passenger seats.
I love the idea of not having to order a drink at 3am when I’m on a binge on whatever nonsense the airline has decided I should watch. Go ahead.
Imagine a hutch with natural materials and “floating furniture” attached to wall brackets so you can easily store things underneath. Designed by Teague and NORDAM, the design creates space without eliminating seating capacity.
The downside, of course, is that you’ll likely need serious currency to be able to afford to use it, but I can dream.
chaise lounge airplane seat
You can blame the Technical University of Delft for this design. It is the brainchild of graduate student Alejandro Núñez Vicente who said CNN Travel of his goal to “change economy class seats for the good of humanity, or for all people who cannot afford more expensive tickets.”
Lofty ambition or masochistic design?
I like the lower storage for those sitting upstairs, and I’m short enough that it doesn’t bother me being that close to the ceiling in an upper seat. But I don’t like the prospect of standing tall when I quit, especially after a few gin and tonics.
But while some marvel at Núñez Vicente’s innovation, the internet is divided, with billboards on Reddit concerned about ease of evacuation, risk of broken knees, and lower passenger claustrophobia. One commenter stated: “just sedate me and put me in a drawer already…”
Vincente is apparently in talks with investors and airlines.
The cafeteria hut
This design is a winner from last year Crystal Shack Awards in the college student category, but I like it, so I decided to share it with you.
A long table runs down the center of the cabin, creating a useful space for remote work, meetings and coffee breaks. Imagine it. You can open your laptop without fear of the idiot in front of you pushing your seat back and breaking it.
While most of these ideas are more in the design phase than in the commercial phase, what is clear is that they fly: especially luxury aviation – is still incredibly popular. As we create new aircraft modes, we need new cabin interiors, and these designs could be the start of something amazing.