back to article Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

Airbus has revealed a plan to put beds in passenger planes’ cargo holds. The company has teamed with an outfit named Zodiac Aerospace that already tucks crew rest quarters away in the bowels of planes. The two think they can deliver “lower-deck modules with passenger sleeping berths” and say airlines with which they’ve …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glossing a commercial turd

    With A380 orders drying up, Airbus would appear to be clutching at straws to justify an airframe a lot larger than most airlines now want. With London to Sydney non-stop by twin motor possible in the next few years, and no outstanding orders for 747 passenger planes, the whole concept of huge aircraft appears to have become a niche use case, with those niches unlikely to fund the future or further development of such large aircraft.

    Emirates desire to build a hub in the middle of nowhere, served by A380s is evidently one such niche.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Glossing a commercial turd

      With London to Sydney non-stop by twin motor possible in the next few years,

      That is the exact driver here. I do not see a way of surviving a direct London-Sydney without with.

      While you are not likely to see this arrangement on Eu-USA transatlantic, it will most likely sell very well on Eu-LatAm, Eu-Australia, USA-LatAm, USA-Austrlia and TransPacific which are becoming posisble with the extra-long range 350.

      1. tip pc Bronze badge

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        Perth to London non stop is already a reality on a Quantas 787-9

        https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/25/first-non-stop-flight-australia-uk-arrives-london-onhistoric/amp/

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          It's perfect for USA -> Europe. You go to bed on the plane like you would in a hotel room, but you wake up at destination, the idea behind London->Scotland sleeper trains of the past.

          All that would be needed would be to streamline the airport processes at each end, the flight in the middle would vanish from your life and air travel would be less onerous.

          I really don't need a high ceiling and a window if I'm asleep.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            I really don't need a high ceiling and a window if I'm asleep.

            I'm not sure how much sleep will be had in them - those beds are likely to see more action than Helmand province.

            The notion of what has happened where you lie, potentially just an hour previously, and the boises while it happens from a bunk across the isle will, for some, prevent any pleasant sleep that may have been had.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Charter flights?

              All swinger...

            2. Velv Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              ...those beds are likely to see more action than Helmand province.

              Er, have you ever stayed in a hotel?

              1. LucreLout Silver badge

                Re: Glossing a commercial turd

                Er, have you ever stayed in a hotel?

                Not one where every bed in the whole hotel was occupied less than 60 mins before I'm getting into it, where all the sheets need changing in that time, and where there are no walls between my room and yours, no.

            3. Lars
              Happy

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              "The notion of what has happened where you lie, potentially just an hour previously".

              Those bunks would be dedicated to you (alone) for the whole flight.

              1. LucreLout Silver badge

                Re: Glossing a commercial turd

                Those bunks would be dedicated to you (alone) for the whole flight.

                .... which will then land and I'll get off, leaving a 30 min turn around time before you get on.

                1. Lars
                  Happy

                  Re: Glossing a commercial t

                  ".... which will then land and I'll get off, leaving a 30 min turn around time before you get on.".

                  Or you would be asked to leave your bed 1h before landing and the beds would be fine and ready for the next flight.

                  If this idea is to fly, it will be made to fly. Back to the past, just like the Zeppelins did it, but less expensive.

            4. Paranoid android

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              Not sure what you're on about. The business seats I've been in were only used for sitting and drinking. Barring the occasional throw-up what's wrong with the idea?

          2. bazza Silver badge

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            All that would be needed would be to streamline the airport processes at each end, the flight in the middle would vanish from your life and air travel would be less onerous.

            That's what BA did with their Concorde service to New York. There was none of this 3-hour check in, queuing for immigration / baggage / customs nonesense. You saved about 4 to 5 hours airport time as well as 3 hours less in the air. So the door-to-door time was more like 4 to 5 hours, instead of 11 to 12 hours. Pretty big saving.

            I think they still do this on their London City - JFK route, but that's subsonic :-(

          3. Laura Kerr

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            " You go to bed on the plane like you would in a hotel room, but you wake up at destination, the idea behind London->Scotland sleeper trains of the past."

            Not in the past at all - the Caledonian Sleeper service is still very much alive. I see it on the way to Euston most mornings.

          4. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            >It's perfect for USA -> Europe. You go to bed on the plane like you would in a hotel room, but you wake up at destination, the idea behind London->Scotland sleeper trains of the past.

            Only issue is timings. The London->Scotland sleeper was really good: I would get on at circa 9pm and disembark in Glasgow/Edinburgh around 6:30/7am. The issue is with a train you can travel slowly and park it in a siding for a couple of hours, so that disembarkment time is reasonable.

            The challenge is converting this to aviation: if you can't takeoff/land with people asleep in the beds then somehow you need to adjust the flight time so that the use of the beds is perceived as being beneficial.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              I used to reguarly fly London to New York, normaly first class so I had a proper seat/bed. I would fly out Momday evening after work and eat, drink and watch films on the way arriving late at night then straight to bed and into work in NY first thing Tuesday morning. Coming home I would leave the office Friday PM, and sleep the entire flight home only eating breakfast just before landing at 6AM on Saturday morning. This allowed me to get home as the family were getting up and not be jet lagged. I would have loved these real sleeper planes for flying east but hated them for flying west. Planes that are only popular in one direction aren't good for airlines.

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Glossing a commercial turd

                Planes that are only popular in one direction aren't good for airlines.

                The Earth is round, just always fly east...

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          Perth to London non stop is already a reality on a Quantas 787-9

          It will be very interesting to see if this works. Judging by the Qantas mail spam I'm getting they aren't finding it easy to fill, which doesn't surprise me. Maybe a business traveller who just needs to get there quickly for a short trip, and can afford to be up front, would like this, but in economy? Even if they paid me I wouldn't spend 17 hours in any airplane in one go, in any class. The opportunity for a weekend stopover in somewhere like Singapore or Hong Kong is surely one of the plus points of that sort of long distance travel.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            'Even if they paid me I wouldn't spend 17 hours in any airplane in one go, in any class.'

            Agreed, I love flying but 10 hours into a 15 hour flight from LAX to Hong Kong and I was worried for my sanity.

            1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              'Even if they paid me I wouldn't spend 17 hours in any airplane in one go, in any class.'

              My body clock is dreadful at adjusting to time differences, so even after a four day trip to a distant time zone, I'm still quite badly jetlagged. The one advantage of this is that once I'm on the return flight I can just bung in some earplugs and sleep the vast majority of the journey away.

          2. boltar Silver badge

            @Phill O'Sophical

            "Even if they paid me I wouldn't spend 17 hours in any airplane in one go, in any class."

            Join the club. In fact I'm done with long haul travel altogether, did a fair amount it in my 20s, can't really stand it now in my 40s. SItting in a cramped economy seat even for the 7 hours to new york is torture so screw it. I'll do short haul around europe but for me my long haul days are over unless its for something really special. Its not just planes, I couldn't imagine sitting in a train or bus in the same seat for 7 hours now, though at least with a train you can get up and wander about, perhaps to the buffet car if there is one. Try that too often in a plane and people (understandably) start to look at you as though you're about to make a dash for the cockpit.

            Give me a car, a ferry/eurotunnel ticket and a clear autoroute/bahn/strada and I'm happy these days.

            1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Unhappy

              Re: @Phill O'Sophical

              Worst I had was 13 hours center aisle seats dead center of the biggest fattest fast food eaters you could ever hope not to be stuck with - I book my seats now whenever possible.

              The inflight movie was Wild Wild West just to make it all the more intolerable.

      2. GerryMC

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        I recently read elsewhere something from Qantas discussing this idea. The point is that to do the ultra long. non stop Sydney to London routes, they may have to reduce the amount of freight that they carry to reduce weight.

        As there is less freight, some of the cargo hold will be unused, so they can use it for walking cargo.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        "That is the exact driver here. I do not see a way of surviving a direct London-Sydney without with."

        I can't see that being viable on a big twin.

    2. tip pc Bronze badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Glossing a commercial turd

      Just standard stuff to increase awareness of the product, generate media attention and try to influence sales. Nothing to see here.

      Obvious Paris as I’m sure the hotel brand enjoys an uplift in demand whenever she’s in the press.

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Glossing a commercial turd

      Niche?

      Calling Emirate's A380 operation out of Dubai "niche" is a bit like referring to Ford F150 pickup as "niche".

      Emirate's operation is vast, and the A380 serves them very well. What they offer some of the most profitable passengers (business people who get business class travel) in the aviation market is nigh on unmatched, and it results in pretty good load factors. Amongst other things, that bar they have is a pretty big draw.

      Apparently Emirates consider the staircase you have to climb to First / Business class heaven on their A380s is one of the most powerful marketing tools they have. Yes, it's irrational, but then a lot of purchasing decisions are irrational. People with money like to think they're going "up there", and not "down there".

      Etihad have "The Residence", a multi-room suite on their A380s. This is reputed to be the most profitable ticket ($ / cubic foot) in the whole aviation market.

      I know plenty of people who travel Europe / Asia / Africa who won't even bother looking at any other airline now, simply because they want to go on an A380 to get there. Even for economy class travellers (like I was the other day) the flight on an EK A380 was better than anything else out there (except perhaps another A380), and infinitely preferable to being squeezed up in a 787 or 777.

      Orders

      As for A380 orders drying up, well not yet. Rumours of its extinction have circulated since before it even flew, and yet it's still there. Emirates themselves are in the position of not being able to afford to let the production line close. Many were surprised (not least Boeing) when they ordered a few more, just to keep the line going. It's entirely possible that Emireates will cancel a few 777X orders to compensate which, given the size of the Emirates' order, Boeing would find discombobulating.

      Plus there's clearly a demand from Emirates for an A380neo, and they have the money to pay for it. In fact, they've got the money to buy Airbus to make it happen. Anyway, one of the reasons why it's not happened yet is because Airbus don't want to destroy the investment made by other A380 customers.

      The A380neo is like a gun held to the head of the entire aviation industry; if it is built, and it turns up competing on a route you operate with your puny 777s / 787s, you're likely going to lose all your passengers on that route to the A380neo operator. It just has so much capacity, it's the equivalent of a high quality superstore opening up in competition to a local Mom'n'Pop shop, with all the economies of scale too. Emirates have already been doing this successfully with the current A380 on many routes, the neo would finish off the competition entirely.

      It happened with the 747 too, back in the day. Back then an airline executive had to take a Brave Pill before buying 747s. Those that did made big bucks. Those that didn't failed. The problem with the A380 (and A380neo) is that you have to take a f***ing big Brave Pill to buy them, because by definition it's a statement of intent to increase passenger numbers on a route. In effect Emirates have been saying to the other airlines, "Well if you won't, I will", and getting away with it.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        I can't see this being commercially viable. Bunks as shown in the photo would require a lot more "housekeeping" between flights if they are to remain pleasant to use, no quick dash round with a binbag & vacuum cleaner there, so turnaround costs go up. They can't be as economical to operate, or as pleasant to use, as a business-class seat even if squashed into the cargo hold.

        As for the A380 itself, sure it's a nice quiet plane, but you still have the problems of arriving at imigration among 500 other passengers. As an example, BA operate an A380 LHR to SFO, and a 787 for LHR to San Jose (SJC). Unless I were actually going into SF city I'd always take the SJC option. Smaller plane, less hassle, shorter queues at arrival & less traffic on leaving the airport. All that far outweighs the minimal advantages of a slightly quieter aircraft. There's little other onboard advantage, the cattle-class seats are equally uncomfortable in both.

        1. SkippyBing Silver badge

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          'Bunks as shown in the photo would require a lot more "housekeeping" between flights if they are to remain pleasant to use, no quick dash round with a binbag & vacuum cleaner there, so turnaround costs go up.'

          It's a module in the cargo hold, which should make replacing it with a fresh module the matter of a few minutes work during the turn round. You then have several hours to clean it on the ground before it goes into the next aircraft. As to whether they can charge enough of a premium to cover the extra cost is a question I can't answer. But then they can charge several times an economy fare to fly people in first class which objectively isn't that much better an experience*.

          *Depending on airline, some of the US carriers seem to go out of their way to make economy a degrading experience which is why I've stopped using them.

          1. ravenviz
            Big Brother

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            US carriers seem to go out of their way to make economy a degrading experience

            I probably wouldn't go that far, but I admit that flying docmestic in the US always seems to be a strange experience.

            1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              I would.

          2. MrXavia

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            "It's a module in the cargo hold,"

            now if they could pre-fill these modules before the plane arrives, you go to sleep before the plane takes off... wake up at your destination...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          As for the A380 itself, sure it's a nice quiet plane, but you still have the problems of arriving at imigration among 500 other passengers. As an example, BA operate an A380 LHR to SFO, and a 787 for LHR to San Jose (SJC). Unless I were actually going into SF city I'd always take the SJC option. Smaller plane, less hassle, shorter queues at arrival & less traffic on leaving the airport. All that far outweighs the minimal advantages of a slightly quieter aircraft. There's little other onboard advantage, the cattle-class seats are equally uncomfortable in both.

          I think another component of that is how busy the airport itself is. I fly in to Birmingham UK regularly, and it seems to make no real difference whether it's an Emirates A380 or a Lufthansa 737. The time through passports is about the same regardless (and quick). It's a much less busy airport than, say, Heathrow, there's far fewer flights, and I'm sure that's a big factor in their ability to quickly deal with 500+ people off an A380.

          I now fly there out of preference instead of London Heathrow because of the reduced airport time.

          1. abedarts

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            Anonymous Coward makes a good point - airport time is a big factor and getting worse in many places, but as a UK passport holder I find LHR pretty good nowadays. Not true for all the other people though, they face big queues :(

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              "as a UK passport holder I find LHR pretty good nowadays. Not true for all the other people though, they face big queues"

              This is a direct consequence of the number of immigration stations on duty.

              LHR has far fewer than Schipol as one f'instance.

              "Customer service? We've heard of it."

        3. Ken 16 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          put them in airfreight containers, swap in sleeping (drugged?) passengers for a faster turnaround?

          I'm looking at you Michael O'Leary

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            Well, sometimes when I've been stuck behind particularly slow people in a check-in queue, the nasty side of my mind has played around with the idea of collecting such passengers from home (or a parcel office) and sending them as freight, so they don't have to do complicated things like showing tickets and identity.

            1. Deltics
              Coat

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              In the commercial passenger air business, passengers are already referred to - or at least thought of - as "self loading cargo".

              The problem is, you can't slap a barcode or RFID tag on a passenger that they couldn't/wouldn't remove, lose or give to someone else, so all that automated cargo tracking that works so well for the manually loaded cargo is the bit that doesn't work for the self-loading stuff, so you have to keep checking that each piece of cargo really is the piece of cargo that the documentation it carries claims it is.

              Also a box of auto components being shipped around the world cannot start having villainous thoughts and plan to bring down the plane or hijack it in order to fly to it's preferred destination of Maranello instead of the scheduled arrival at Dagenham (via Heathrow) or secure the relase of fellow auto components imprisoned in JIT parts bins in Sunderland.

              Complications, complications.

              If you could organise to collect passengers from their homes or designated pick-up points, verify their cargo papers at that point, place them in a secure container (from which they cannot leave) for delivery to the airport to be directly loaded on board, luggage and all then sure, that could work. You just need to have passengers willing to be treated even more like cargo than they already are.

          2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Alien

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            Dumarest again in less than a week (I'm sure I posted it somewhere in the last week) - Travelling by low passage between the stars is the cheapest & the most dangerous.

            Normally used for transporting livestock, it’s a form of suspended animation. Some travelers use it because it’s cheap but with a 20% chance of not waking up at the destination.

        4. ToddRundgrensUtopia

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          Didn't they say A330 and maybe A350, nothing about A380?

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          Regarding housekeeping, these are long-haul craft, they'll spend hours at the gate just for *refueling*. Cabin turnaround times are on the critical path for commuter flights, not widebody overseas flights (fascinating stuff, I remember seeing a Gantt chart of different plane turnaround times years ago).

        6. MrXavia

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          " the cattle-class seats are equally uncomfortable in both."

          " BA operate"

          That is your problem, BA have terrible comfort.. and unfortunately others have followed...

          not sure if there is a nice flying option for the USA in cattle...

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        "The A380neo is like a gun held to the head of the entire aviation industry; if it is built, and it turns up competing on a route you operate with your puny 777s / 787s, you're likely going to lose all your passengers on that route to the A380neo operator."

        Not necessarily. You have to be able to accommodate that huge plane, and that requires three considerations: runways, gates, and terminals. Unless you can accommodate them already, or the 380 has the capability to operate within the envelopes of the more-limited jets already in service, especially Re: the runway lengths, then pulling in an A380 is a nontrivial matter, especially since the status quo currently seems to be handling things.

      3. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        Emirates would make more money if they sold their fuel to another airline and didn't fly any planes at all.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        I'm a regular business class traveller and occasional first class traveller. I've been on an Emirates A380 once - when BA cancelled the route I was booked on and needed a last minute alternative. Never again.

        What was good:

        1) Being able to do Dar Es Salaam to New York in 2 hops, which BA could no longer do having cancelled their Dar Es Salaam to Heathrow route.

        2) Using top-deck only jet-ways. The boarding and de-planing experience at Dubai was excellent - the lounge is on the same floor as the top-deck jet-way, and you never get stuck in the big queues associated with standard class.

        3) The A380 is very quiet - even during landing and takeoff phases.

        What was truly awful:

        1) The Emirates A380 has a single enormous business class cabin. The amount of noise generated in their made sleep next to impossible. The more the cabin is split up, the easier it becomes to sleep.

        2) Emirates service was trolley-less, the cabin crew walked the trays up and down the aisles. This meant that serving the whole cabin took forever. And when all you want to do is eat dinner and bed-down, you can't because dinner service is a multi-hour affair (with the main cabin lights left on throughout). Also, the length of time it took to get the food from the galley to the seat meant it was arriving luke-warm at best.

        3) There is a serious shortage of toilets on board. IIRC, the standard transatlantic BA 747 has 7 business class toilets compared to 4 on the Emirates A380. The A380 has slightly more business class passengers (80 against 76 or something like that). On the A380 I had to queue for the toilets every time I went to them without exception.

        4) The bar seems like a nice idea. I never saw a single person sat at the bar for the entire flight, so in reality it was a waste of space that should have been used for something useful like toilets.

        5) Flying with Emirates puts you at risk of a run-in with the Dubai customs. I routinely take prescription meds that are illegal in Dubai, and I have to be VERY careful not to have any when I fly through Dubai since the penalty for carrying them is a 4 year prison sentence minimum. I'm unwilling to routinely run the risk that I screw up. This case was at the end of a long trip, so I was willing to throw away my remaining prescription meds in Tanzania before embarking and get new ones when I got back to NY.

        Emirates has clearly been filling aircraft. I don't think the reason for it is the quality of service. I would take one of the Far East airlines over everyone else (Air China, JAL, Nippon, etc.) and happily take BA ahead of Emirates any day of the week.

      5. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        "The A380neo is like a gun held to the head of the entire aviation industry"

        Unfortunately not.

        The killer factor of the 747 turned out to be unrefueled range, NOT capacity. Big Twins have eating its advantage from the bottom up because of ETOPS. The 777 in particular has been cannibalising 747 sales for the last 20 years.

        None of this was known when the A380 was first developed and introduced as ETOPS wasn't even around at that point and had only just been introduced respectively.

        The remaining market segments for Big Quads are much smaller. Boeing saw this coming and Airbus didn't.

        ETOPS was a long time coming because high power piston engined aircraft were spectacularly unreliable. More often than not a transcontinental flight arrived with fewer engines operating than it left with. It took 40 years of long haul jet operations to convince authorities that turbines were better.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Glossing a commercial turd

      >With A380 orders drying up, Airbus would appear to be clutching at straws to justify an airframe a lot larger than most airlines now want.

      Suspect this isn't so much about new orders but finding reasons why existing customers should maintain their existing A380's (both ordered/in production and in-service) rather than handing them back.

      Given Emirates are by far the biggest customer for the A380, I suspect this must be something they have asked for.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glossing a commercial turd

      No one in their right mind would want to spend 22 hours in a plane from Sydney to London with no break.

      1. ravenviz

        Re: Glossing a commercial turd

        No one in their right mind would want to spend 22 hours in a plane from Sydney to London with no break

        I would if I had a flat bed to retire to. Mind you I am used to living in a camper van most weekends so I have developed coping strategies for living in an enclosed space.

        1. Stuart 22

          Re: Glossing a commercial turd

          I'm just setting out to join tonight's Portsmouth to St Malo ferry. Takes around 12 hours. Four up in a windowless cabin for most of that time along with several hundred doing the same thing. We choose to do it. There is a market and that mock-up looks like luxury in comparison.

          Go for it!

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Glossing a commercial turd

            "I'm just setting out to join tonight's Portsmouth to St Malo ferry. Takes around 12 hours"

            Don't bother doing it that way - get the 3 hour afternoon fast ferry to cherbourg and drive to St Malo which is about another hour or 2 depending on traffic.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Glossing a commercial turd

              Don't bother doing it that way - get the 3 hour afternoon fast ferry to cherbourg and drive to St Malo which is about another hour or 2 depending on traffic.

              But if you did that in the evening, you'd need to find somewhere to sleep at the destination and that will be another 8 hours or so.

              Might as well use the boat as the hotel and sleep through the journey.

              1. boltar Silver badge

                Re: Glossing a commercial turd

                "But if you did that in the evening, you'd need to find somewhere to sleep at the destination and that will be another 8 hours or so."

                Yes, if you're not actually going to St Malo itself.

                "Might as well use the boat as the hotel and sleep through the journey."

                Problem with that service last time I used it was they booted you out of bed at 6am. Not very relaxing and a bit of a faff when you have young kids.

    6. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Glossing a commercial turd

      Well, give me a zone where sumo-sized businessmen can snore without waking up the rest of first class and another where babies can happily scream in peace and I'll go for it.

  2. Adrian Harvey
    Boffin

    Seats in the upright position

    There is one seat type not required to be returned to the upright position, and that is the Business class seats on Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic. They are arranged in a herringbone layout and the (fat) seat belt contains an airbag. My memory is that you can't be in the lie-flat position, (which is on the back of the flip-over seat (really!)) but I'm not a frequent flier at the front of the plane, more's the pity :-(.

    I suspect the airbag is key here.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Seats in the upright position

      One of the East Asian airlines has these airbag seats too - they made the news recently because they bar obese people from using them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seats in the upright position

        Qatar Business class have them - knowing I would be on an execrable 787 for 9 hours was enough to make me upgrade. Normally, I simply avoid booking any flight which as a 787 (in this case, I'd not been paying attention to the fact that they'd recently changed it from a 330.) Horrible, noisy, cramped, plasticky aircraft the 787.

        Anyway, to be vaguely on point - I average about two short-haul flights a week and make a long haul trip to Asia every couple of months (usually stacking up two or three countries into one round-trip) for work, and almost always travel economy. Anything up to around 4 hours is no bother at all, 7 hours bearable, and 9 hours is reaching "I'm going crazy" (I'm 6'3", and economy seats aren't fun.) So for those Asia trips I almost always split the journey into two legs and spend a night or two somewhere en-route. A couple of nights in a good hotel is almost always cheaper than an upgrade to Business (and you can normally get much cheaper flights anyway with a change), and the chance of a few 'free' weekend breaks in cities you might otherwise never see is one of the few perks of having too much international business travel (which is otherwise a grind.)

        I'm not remotely surprised Qantas can't sell tickets on that 17 hour marathon flight of theirs. It's the wrong plane (an A380 might just be bearable - Emirates' are a pleasure to fly on even in economy) and just too long. Nobody in their right mind is doing that distance out and back for one day there, so there's basically no real cost to breaking the journey up with a layover or two.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Business class seats that recline back into a bed are very comfy, and I'm 6'2".

    I have no idea why I was upgraded from from economy on a part of my return leg, other than one hop on my outgoing trip was delayed. I was left wanting to only ever travel by business class again, even if it meant robbing a bank.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      I've been very fortunate and I've been upgraded to Economy Plus, Business & First Class. (Not being a frequent flyer, lady luck has most definitely been looking down on me)

      Being a six foot chunky monkey, I appreciated the extra room in all the upgrades but all the "posh" stuff in Business & First Class was wasted on me.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Stop

        "posh" stuff in Business & First Class was wasted on me.

        What's wrong with free food and drink?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "posh" stuff in Business & First Class was wasted on me.

          "posh" stuff in Business & First Class was wasted on me.

          "What's wrong with free food and drink?"

          Perhaps he choked in his sleep when they shoved it in his mouth?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I have no idea why I was upgraded from from economy on a part of my return leg, other than one hop on my outgoing trip was delayed. I was left wanting to only ever travel by business class again, even if it meant robbing a bank.

      You might be being sarcastic, but just in case you're not - you will have been upgraded for exactly this reason. If you're a member of an airline's frequent flyer programme, they monitor all the flights you take and build up a profile based on where you fly, which cabin you fly in, which booking class (economy alone usually has 9 or 10 of these) and so on. BA used to expose some of the details on their web site if you were logged in if you viewed the page source code (not sure if they still do).

      And yes, their tricks worked on me. I used to fly economy all the time but my wife and I booked a last minute trip to Thailand some years ago. They weren't cheap tickets - Y class I think, which is the most expensive economy bucket. Lo and behold, at the airport, we were upgraded to business. They obviously thought we could afford to pay for the posh seats so wanted to tempt us in. And it worked - a decent meal followed by a good night's sleep meant the first couple of days of the holiday weren't spent trying to recover from lack of sleep and jetlag as they were in the past.

      So I now tend to pick business class. I've flown first a few times too, and while it's nice, I woudn't pay double for it. I'll still often choose economy when flying West though.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    With the first trials of London Sydney non stop (17 hours) this seems necessary.

    Then again if air freight is expanding...

    Sounds like an opportunity for more air freight only flights.

  5. GlenP Silver badge

    I can see the attraction on long haul over cattle class but having flown to Aus on Business Class* it certainly wouldn't be an improvement on that. The Cathay Pacific seats effectively give you a full length private bed anyway, complete with 15" TV, etc. Long haul flights are also going to be the ones needing most cargo space.

    *Necessary as I was in the office about 10 hours after landing in Bris.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    Calling Bruce Willis, i mean calling Korben Dallas...

    I think someone has been watching The Fifth Element again...

  7. Thoguht Silver badge

    Barbers shops on planes? What if you hit an air pocket whilst having your traditional shave? It's not called a cut-throat razor for nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The reason why a barbershop on a plane won't succeed is because wealthy men, the sort of passenger with the money to buy the necessary business / first class ticket, are quite often bald or thinning beyond redemption... I mean, if I went into a barbershop these days they'd certainly not think I was a customer, even if I did have the money for a first class ticket.

      A salon for the ladies would be a better bet.

      Still, I like the idea of an airline service that deposits one at one's destination in better condition than when one first boarded. Normally one gets off a plane in considerably worst condition.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Don't they have barbers/hairdressers in the first class lounge? Makes much more sense as you can use the time waiting to get a haircut, then freshen up on landing with a free shower.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          "Still, I like the idea of an airline service that deposits one at one's destination in better condition than when one first boarded. Normally one gets off a plane in considerably worst condition."

          "then freshen up on landing with a free shower."

          When I was regularly doing the globe for work, I found it worth including in the schedule a visit to the Virgin Atlantic lounge and spa after the flight, just one the several useful perks of Business/Upper Class...

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Virgin used to have inflight massages and beauty "treatments" in Upper Class

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's quite apparent that....

    The readership don't travel business class often. It appears that, so long as you get your whiskey (other fine beverages are available) and coke (other tooth / gut rotting beverages are available), you're fine in economy.

    If you do travel business, whilst most business class are fine, I've been on many a virgin flight where some Z list celeb has kept the cabin awake, other someone has stumbled in to the ottoman. Of I've been awoken by the breakfast being prepared for everyone else.

    This is a great idea. And I would pay for it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's quite apparent that....

      It appears that, so long as you get your whiskey (other fine beverages are available) and coke (other tooth / gut rotting beverages are available), you're fine in economy.

      More likely we work for companies who won't pay for anything but economy. When I pay my own way I will often pay for at least premium economy. On business travel I have no choice, few companies now allow business-class travel for any but the privileged top management.

      1. John H Woods

        Re: It's quite apparent that....

        "few companies now allow business-class travel for any but the privileged top management."

        yep - it's more VP class than Business Class

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    The problem with this idea

    If you have beds where the cargo should be then you have no space to put the cargo. That might mean bags but also any other freight that passenger aircraft routine carry when they have capacity.

    Maybe the solution is to knock everyone out before they board and revive them on the other side. Then there is no need for toilets, food, entertainment, overhead luggage compartments, bins, or most of the flight crew. Stack them up on pallets 3 high and load/unload them up on a forklift. (joke)

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: The problem with this idea

      Stack them up on pallets 3 high and load/unload them up on a forklift.

      Hell, if that gives me an unterrupted night's sleep on a US-Europe flight I'm in!

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: The problem with this idea

        "Hell, if that gives me an unterrupted night's sleep on a US-Europe flight I'm in!"

        Sleep, or possibly a nightmare from which you can never awake.

        The idea reminds me of a Steven King short story called The Jaunt. Somebody invented an instant teleportation device but you have to be unconscious before you can go through it, otherwise you experience eternity and go mad. I'm sure Ryanair are keenly examining how to monetize this service if it ever becomes a reality.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem with this idea

          Wait an eternity or Ryanair ? isn't the very definition of hell ?

  10. Mr Dogshit

    Bring it on!

    As someone contemplating a transatlantic flight, I'd rather have a snooze and a tommy tank in my own little nest than spend ten hours in a cabin with screaming kiddies.

  11. x 7

    So is the cargo hold going to be heated and pressurised?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So is the cargo hold going to be heated and pressurised?

      It already is. They ship livestock in it already, and if it wasn't pressurised the fuselage would collapse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "They ship livestock in..." [the cargo hold of aircraft]

        Not something I've ever seen myself. What if the cattle herd wandered to one end of the fuselage? Might throw off the balance.

        I've seen plenty of pigs and cows in the main cabin.

        1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "They ship livestock in..." [the cargo hold of aircraft]

          What if the cattle herd wandered to one end of the fuselage? Might throw off the balance.

          That reminds me of a very nerdy joke one our University lecturers used to like to tell in his Control Systems lectures. The punch line was "The plane crashed because all the poles were in the right hand side of the plane"

          A virtual pint for anyone who understands that!

          1. John H Woods

            Re: "They ship livestock in..." [the cargo hold of aircraft]

            I presume by "crashed" you referring to the method of steepest descent?

            1. Korev Silver badge
              Stop

              Re: "They ship livestock in..." [the cargo hold of aircraft]

              More the abrupt stop at the end of said descent

        2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: "They ship livestock in..." [the cargo hold of aircraft]

          I was stuck between 4 of them - See earlier comment.

          Actually this has just brought back a memory of scraping very dried sheep "matter" off the inside of a DC3, underneath the cargo floor when the plane was in for servicing when I first left school.

      2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        I thought they only heated the hold if the pilots were told there was livestock in there. I'm sure I've seen reports of little kitty surviving the arctic conditions in the hold when the crew didn't know it was in there.

  12. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Transoceanic flights can be a real pain for those who can never be comfortable in airline seats. I'd given thought to suggesting replacing a few rows of center seats with a few tiers of coffin bunks a LA Japanese hotels or submarines. They need not be big or spacious, but they can provide an option for alternative comfort at parity or near parity capacity-wise. And by not going whole hog, the idea can be floated slowly and adjusted per demand.

    1. Adrian Harvey

      Aparrently the issue is that no one has created such a scheme that can pass the required evacuation tests. A few airlines have had a go with mockups etc.

      Any ideas on how to get people off and out quickly from a bunk bed type arrangement?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Any ideas on how to get people off and out quickly from a bunk bed type arrangement?

        I'd guess that you won't be allowed down to the beds until you're in a stage of flight where evacuation isn't an issue anyway, and you'll have to be back at your seat before descent.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          If it was on deck and openable to the front, it could be possible to roll out, perhaps onto a slide setup.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Any ideas on how to get people off and out quickly from a bunk bed type arrangement?

          Open the pod bay doors Hal.

  13. Paul

    given the way security is going, I think airports and airlines will simply sedate passengers and load them into coffin-shaped pods and stack them up. You'll get loaded like cargo, and then woken up at the other end of the journey. If the plane ditches, the pods will be ejected and can float. If the plane crashes, you can be buried in the pod, no need to scrape out the hamburger meat inside!

    1. Chozo

      If they could eject me as the plane flies over my destination that would be a terrific!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Bunk beds supplied by Martin-Baker" ?

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Coat

        Off course

        Parachutes are a optional extra......

        Unless you go for the Blakes 7 option:

        GAN Do you know exactly what we're looking for? Because I don't think I've ever seen an impact life capsule.

        JENNA They're bullet-shaped, built to be energy absorbing. Theoretically they could free fall from the edge of the atmosphere onto solid rock without even bruising the people inside.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fact check, Emirates DO have bars on their A380's (as well as showers). One for First Class and one for Business class.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Virgin do in Upper Class too.

  15. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Problem? For who...?

    "Small problem: world faces big shortages of air freight capacity"

    That doesn't sound like a problem for the airlines. It sounds like an opportunity to increase demand for that space, thus drive up prices and profits. FTW

  16. Geekpride

    No choice?

    Looking at the mockup photo accompanying the article, it appears there are going to be many more beds than seats. If you didn't want to lie down, would there be somewhere for you to sit? I wouldn't pay for reduced choice.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reg, you're low balling prices in the survey

    "I'd do it for a 50 per cent fare premium"

    I think you'd find airlines charging at least 100% of a business class fare for a bunk bed, they won't come cheap and it's laughable that they'd do it for 50% the price of an economy class ticket.

  18. SafetyNerves

    Beds will become seats

    If they get the safety certification (probably by replacing cargo hold doors with more conventional emergency exits with slides) then the beds will soon be replaced with row upon row of seats in a sub-economy product that doesn't have a window view (of what exactly, sky?). The A380 will then become a triple decker but with the problem that baggage capacity and allowances will be reduced - not be weight, but by volume.

    1. John H Woods

      Re: Window view

      I'm sure a set of oval HDR screens would be just as good. Hell, why are there even windows in the main fuselage?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Window view

        Claustrophobes, mostly. They'd be too scared to fly otherwise, and any business would be interested in reducing turnover. I know I prefer to be able to look out on takeoff and landing so as to retain spatial awareness.

      2. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Window view

        'Hell, why are there even windows in the main fuselage?'

        To ease the problems of evacuating the aircraft cabin light levels need to be as close as possible to that outside, hence why they dim the lights during take-off and landings at night*. Windows make that fairly easy to do, you'd need unbelievably bright lights to achieve the same effect without windows.

        Plus personally I like the view, and it lets me check I'm landing in the right place. No, I don't trust pilots...

        *By which I mean it's a regulatory requirement.

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit
          Thumb Up

          Re: Window view @ SkippyBing

          Thanks for the explanation. I always wonder about that while on a plane and without fail forget to look up when back on the ground.

      3. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Window view

        So in the case of emergency your eyes can adjust to outside light levels.

        Dammit, I got ninja'd.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Window view

          "So in the case of emergency your eyes can adjust to outside light levels."

          Still, it makes you wonder why, if that's such an issue, why the windows have user-adjustable shades, which made me think of claustrophobes for which lack of spatial awareness can trigger panic attacks.

          1. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: Window view

            'Still, it makes you wonder why, if that's such an issue, why the windows have user-adjustable shades'

            That's why on most aircraft they'll ask you to open them before landing/take-off, after that they're quite happy if everyone closes them and goes to sleep to make their lives easier. The Boeing 787 having fancy computer controlled window tint can just do that automatically.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Window view

              "That's why on most aircraft they'll ask you to open them before landing/take-off, after that they're quite happy if everyone closes them and goes to sleep to make their lives easier. The Boeing 787 having fancy computer controlled window tint can just do that automatically."

              I've only had that happen on one or two flights, and usually not American-based airlines, which is why I didn't see the evacuation angle. Probably because they work on the assumption of poor internal visibility anyway (eg. smoke in the cabin).

  19. Ralph76

    The glaring solution.

    I am eagerly awaiting Airbus' announcement next week to outline their "Aeronautical roof rack" system for the transportation of my beloved personal effects as we cruise at 40,000ft in our sleep to New York....

  20. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Alert

    Done before..

    Didn't propeller passenger planes of the 40s and 50s have sleeping berths for overseas flights? A journey on a prop plane might take 30-50% longer than on a next-generation jet.

    I don't have anything against it, but I doubt it will catch on in these times due to the less revenue for airlines with precious space taken up with beds. Maybe just more spacious, comfortable seats would be a solution? That and hotels already disgust me--what kind of hygienic conditions can you expect when you're practically hot bunking with the previous passenger on your flight?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Done before..

      "I don't have anything against it, but I doubt it will catch on in these times due to the less revenue for airlines with precious space taken up with beds."

      Depends. If you can say replace three seats with three tiers of bunks, it can become a wash capacity-wise.

  21. batfink Silver badge
    IT Angle

    I'd pay if the price was reasonable

    I do UK<->OZ (East coast) at least once a year. I'd happily pay a premium for this, but the question would then be "how does the cost relate to Business Class?". If it's approaching Business Class cost, then there's no point, as it'd be better to just fly Business.

    The current 14+-hour legs OZ<->Dubai are bad enough in cattle class, so I'd never even contemplate a single UK<->OZ hop without being able to lie down somehow (and no I can't afford Business).

    Regarding the 380's: we will now explicitly only book flights on 380's, preferably Emirates. Have done 777's and they don't compare. So, in general, Emirates get our custom simply because they have 380's. I doubt we're the only ones with the same attitude, so I'd guess that aircraft make a lot of commercial sense for Emirates.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At 6ft8

    Flying varies between uncomfortable to painful, exit rows are always gifted to frequent flyers (I don't get a choice of airline for business travel, so never really earn enough from a single airline).

    For me anything is better than what I currently have, I would prefer a jab to knock me out shove me in a box, load me into cargo and unpack me and wake me up the other end.. If all passengers were transported like cargo, lots of problems would be solved, no I flight service needed, no drunk unruly passengers, terrorism would be a thing of the past, and if it falls from the sky, you ain't going to know anything about it...

    I'm also not convinced the airlines or CAA really take exiting passengers quickly in the event of an emergency seriously anyway, as literally being wedged into a seat where you aren't going to be getting out in a timely manner isn't exactly safe.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: At 6ft8

      "If all passengers were transported like cargo, lots of problems would be solved,"

      And could introduce others. Some people are sensitive to sedatives, meaning they could go to sleep and never wake up (= wrongful death suits from the families). What if a passenger is incontinent? Can't sedate them since they may not be able to hold themselves in for the whole flight, creating a real mess.

    2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: At 6ft8

      I would prefer a jab to knock me out shove me in a box, load me into cargo and unpack me and wake me up the other end.

      Have you tried pissing off the US government?

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        Re: At 6ft8

        Two things he said wake up and arrive were he wanted to. I don't think he wants to wake up in gitmo. Nope better off pissing of the Russians :)

  23. Lars
    Flame

    What the hell is this author babbling about. Of course every passenger will have a seat for taking off and landing or when ever. The beds would be used only during the flight.

    It's so damned obvious.

  24. Tim 11

    reclining seats turn into bunk beds

    It seems to me that 3 flat "beds" stacked vertically would take up no more space than 3 normal seats one in front of another. I'm sure this could be achieved by some kind of rotating mechanism.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Philippine Airlines used to have beds certified for landing and takeoff in the upper deck of some 747s. I travelled back from Manila on one of these and apparently slept through the landing and subsequent takeoff in India.

  26. Winkypop Silver badge
    Windows

    As someone looking at a long-haul flight in 3 weeks (Oz - UK)

    Y E S

    P L E A S E

    Windows are over rated.

    Sleeping is easy.

    Icon: That's what I look like after 20 hours of flying...

  27. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Vulcan Runway for Sale!

    Fast long haul ER composite jets flying over the Arctic, say hello to other side of the world sub 10 hours. #signmeup #canibuyaplaneplease

  28. David 164

    May be the idea is that these are bookable, may be on board the flight, so you can book a 4- 5 hour slots on the way to Australia. A alarm system will gently wake you up, a quick change of bedding by the hostess and the next person move in.

    That way they can all be cleared out and locked up and passengers in there seat ready for landing an hour before the flight is due to land.

    1. pgcomputing

      A quick change of bedding, that sounds fantastic and a far cry from hot racking/bunking on submarines although don't mention that option to Mr O'Leary

      1. David 164

        We all know Mr O'Leary, not only is he thinking hot bunking already, he probably thinks two passengers per single bed!

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          He's probably thinking of charging extra for that

  29. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Hmm.

    My spouse has raging GAD. The last aircraft we got on together was a 4.5hr flight from YYZ to the Dominican, which entailed valium and clonazapam. I have no issues flying - I'm medium height, slim build and can fall asleep anywhere. Her on the other hand, could not relax even with the meds and could not read due to visual dilation (focus on page, ears and eyes disagree about motion, barf). Being able to drop a full dose of the clonazapam or even go for a full on sleeping tablet for 5 hours, she'd be all over this. And I rather suspect that the middle child would (not being able to sit still for more than 25 to 30 minutes) also benefit from this space, again with the taking a nap instead of vibrating in place and loosing their shit.

  30. YARR
    Megaphone

    Small problem: world faces big shortages of air freight capacity

    The solution to this is to increase the number of dedicated air freight aircraft. There's a use for old A380s if operators want to upgrade to the A380neo.

    Most freight aircraft are converted ex-passenger planes. If the challenge is to keep them flying longer (beyond their normal airworthy lifespan) without endangering lives, why not remove the pilots and have them operate as freighter drones? To reduce the risk to people on the ground, re-route the flightpaths / choose runways to avoid populated areas.They say planes practically fly themselves, so why not let them?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Because of that catch word "practically". The most sensitive part of the flight happens to be the ends of it: the takeoff and landing, especially if the weather's uncooperative.

  31. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Bring your own Sleeping Bag!

    For those who are used to more spartan comforts. All that would be needed is some means of securing person plus sleeping bag to the floor in case of turbulence.

  32. TWB

    As someone who can't sleep in chairs

    I'd love this. I once did a full nightshift followed by a 9 hour flight thinking - "great I'll finally sleep on a plane!" - but nope - the following week was just weird....

    I sleep well lying down but find sleeping in a chair does not work for me and they are funny about you lying down in the aisles for some reason....

    I'd be happy to waive any safety nonsense - if we're going to crash so be it. In fact don't bother with security - I'll take that risk as well if it means I don't have to be treated like a terrorist in the airport.

    Danger Air - we'll get you on your way without fuss and (hopefully to your destination alive)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: As someone who can't sleep in chairs

      "I sleep well lying down but find sleeping in a chair does not work for me and they are funny about you lying down in the aisles for some reason...."

      Aviation regulations require the aisles be kept clear because too much happens in them. People move up and down them heading to the lavatories, the carts the flight attendants use in service are JUST narrow enough to pass the aisles, and there's always emergencies, which is why I can't even sit in front of the doors for more than a few seconds unless standing in the lavatory line.

  33. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Windows

    Costs and stuff

    We fly to the Antipodes every few years.

    Last but one we flew coach with Cathay Pacific with a stopover in Sigapore.

    Never again. Too cramped and too many overweight people.

    As you get older and less flexible (and less tolerant) flights much over 4 hours in cramped conditions become intolerable.

    Last time, due to short notice, the really cheap seats had gone. We had already decided to fly Premium Economy (like old style Business Class) when we realised that flying Business Class with Malaysian was only a touch more expensive.

    First leg outwards was an A380, second leg was an A320. The A380 with a fully reclining bed was bliss. The partial recline in the A320 was OK but not a patch on the A380. Still way better than coach.

    One of the best bits was the airport lounges. Eat drink and be merry, followed by priority boarding. We even got whisked through immigration at the other end which we thought was a bit off. Obviously not the target demographic but we expected that at least our luggage would have been sniffed over by the dogs looking for drugs and food.

    Heathrow lounge was superb. BC and FC had the same food and drink, just table service in FC.

    KL was a depressing pit but large and the champagne was drinkable. Flying back the lounge at Auckland was a joke. A fridge with some tinnies and a bit of a buffet. Like the breakfast room at any bottom budget chain hotel in the UK but worse.

    On the pricing I assumed that it was 20% over BC prices.

    Anyway, if this was offered on a non-stop flight to Oz or NZ and costed in against a two hop flight then I would certainly consider it. 17 hours in the coach class lottery - absolutely no way! I note that the press flew business class on the inaugural flight apart from one brave soul who booked into coach and was not impressed.

  34. Muscleguy Silver badge

    Well at the end of the month we are flying Emirates from Glasgow to Dubai then non stop to Auckland, NZ. Last time we were back we stopped in Brisbane going and Melbourne on the way back with decanting. You have no idea how frustrating it is to stand in Brisbane knowing Auckland (home) is just 3hrs eastwards. I tear up as we head in over the Manukau Heads, bank over the Hauraki Gulf, again over Wiri and again to bring us in from the South, descending all the time with more detail coming clear. The guy in a lemon squeezer hat who checks your black passport and says 'welcome home' with a smile.

    I can't wait even if I have to deal with my family when I get there ;-)

  35. Joe Gurman

    This at least gets us closer

    ....to my concept of several years gestation: since the airlines have been attempting, with ever greater success, to make single or coach class flying so physically painful and mentally stressful that no one wants to make the flight whilst conscious, the obvious endpoint is modular sleep tubes in which the passenger is kept sedated and hydrated by means of intravenous drips inserted before flight. The passengers are then led to their modular tube, strapped in, and several tubes at a time are forklifted into the specially built hull (lots of extra cargo doors). No need for windows in the aft 85% of the aircraft, no need for food service (maybe a glucose drip for the non-diabetic), none for non-emergency lighting, either.

    Of course, some extensions to the idea are intriguing: pay extra to get a flotation device and a parachute inbuilt so print to an emergency landing or impact, all the paying tubistas can be popped free of the aircraft before it augurs in. Any sufficient g force (landing) would trigger the introduction of a mild stimulant in the drip, the appearance of a hot face towel, and Bob's your uncle.... unless you land in a tree. Still have to work on that part.

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