If you’ve seen old-timey photos of aviation in the early decades of the plane senility and thought where all the glamour led, you’ve been operating economy. When airlines change the back of the plane, it’s usually to pack in more passengers or install something you can give them coin to enjoy. For those who turn left as they card, life aloft is swankier than ever.
But last week at the Aircraft Interior Expo in Hamburg, economy leaflets got a bit of good, if not quite glamorous, news. One of the world’s largest plane developers, Airbus, and cabin builder Zodiac Aerospace are going to start building plots for hire. Full-size, lay-out-flat beds–no business or first-class ticket required.
In an environment as cramped as an aircraft room, Zodiac’s designers had to go downstairs, into the cargo hold, to find additional opening. Airlines buying particular airliners from Airbus will soon be able to order brand-new “passenger modules, ” the exact size and chassis of a cargo receptacle. They can slot them into the belly of huge planes, just like they load your luggage, in a large metal bucket. They can also pull them out again for shorter flights or when they need more baggage space.
Inside, these modules look like a cross between an old fashioned sleeper learn and an upscale, minimalist hostel. The surfaces are all finished in glossy grey, with insidious lighting along the ceiling and flooring. It looks like curtains could be added for privacy. This plaza isn’t for the claustrophobic: There are no windows, and the bottoms are restricted and stacked two high.