Report: Airbus mulls bunk beds for premium economy


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Boy oh boy, the timing of this news couldn’t be sweeter. Yesterday I travelled to Washington National airport to videotape an interview with A I “Indi” Rajasingham, the head of MmilleniumM Group, which has invented a stacked sleeper for economy class, a product about which I wrote extensively here.

Now TravelMole is reporting that Airbus is considering lie-flat solutions for premium economy. There isn’t a whole lot of additional information in the article (could we see this offering on the A350???). But here is the key quote from Airbus head of aircraft interiors Robert Lange:

“It’s been the holy grail to find a way of getting premium passenger to sleep horizontally but space and best use of it is always an issue.

“The only thing we haven’t explored so far is the overlapping layout and although it won’t happen in the near future its something to look at.”

Okay, so we probably shouldn’t expect to see this in the very near future, as Lange suggests. But if Indi has his way, stacked sleepers will come onboard sooner rather than later. So keep an eye out for that video blog next week. 

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7 Responses to Report: Airbus mulls bunk beds for premium economy

  1. Alan G February 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Very interesting ! Mary, right on the money !
    The AirSleeper seems to be it! (www.AirSleeper.info)
    I have not seen any practical solution with flat beds besides this.
    Some have interleaved (legs under heads) – not flat beds
    Others have tiers too high for service
    Still others have arrangements that need permanent cabin floor changes and not recofigurable.
    etc.
    The AirSleeper Website says:
    Air Sleeper offers larger beds in Premium Economy than many Business beds ! … I will climb a couple of steps for that!
    Alan.

  2. 7K7 February 11, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    Airsleeper

    Whenever I see this kind of arrangement it always makes me think of the catecombs.

  3. 7x7 February 12, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    Catecombs ?! Perhaps 7K7 needs to get to see the better side of life!

    The AirSleeper for me is like (swimming) pool side loungers !

    AirSleepers -from the images- http://www.AirSleeper.Info have the same open views of windows at BOTH levels and even along the entire cabin when reclining or lying flat.

    I am ready to stretch out on the AirSleeper.

    Oh ! wake me up when we get there!

  4. 7K7 February 12, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    7×7,

    “…Perhaps 7K7 needs to get to see the better side of life…” I’m willing to be introduced to it ;-)

    As far as I can see, the seats are arranged back towards the walls and, when in sitting configuration, they cover where the windows would be. Two tiers, inward facing down the sides of the fuselage :-(

    The colours they’ve used – greys, beiges and browns don’t do them any favours with me either. I really do find it a disturbing layout – just check out the last image in that scrolly thing!

    I still need a lot of convincing there :-)

  5. 7x7 February 12, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    OK 7K7…let me try ;-)
    Do you consider colors as something Airlines could define? Is it an AirSleeper architecture issue in your mind? You may want to think about that.

    The nice thing about flatbeds – and I mean really flat beds as in the AirSleeper, and not inclined affairs often touted as flat beds, is that you sleep in any position, and you face in any position. The AirSleeper (in the images) as shown is one that gives an excellent view out the window for reclining and lie flat passengers perfectly oriented to avoid glare from the window while sleeping. What more can we ask for! (BTW. I don’t see why they can all face outwards with the same design. It won’t be as nice as I see it)

    Also worth considering: when do people sit up in normal life? It is when they do things like eat or read etc. Sit-up time is for focused activities.They normally recline and lie flat when they relax – the best window time.

    The design at the same time gives full aisle access to each passenger at all times.
    I have yet to see another stacked design that does this. Apart from great convenience, this is a critical aspect of a 90 second emergency evacuation for a stacked design. Stacked designs with shared ladders and shared aisle access can be a serious hazard on an airplane.

  6. 7K7 February 13, 2009 at 8:09 am #

    7×7

    Yes, I suppose the final colour scheme is up to the airlines.
    I like the insides of an aircraft to be kind of light and airy.

    I can see the benefits of completely flat beds and also the advantages of a wide common aisle. I can even see how escape hatches might be easier to get to with this arrangement – lie the bed flat and you have quite a wide access way. yes, an outward facing version of that would probably be worse and a nightmare to evacuate if the doors down one side were all unusable.

    I like looking outside at the vistas as I sit in my seat, even if doing some other thing like eating or talking. If I tried that with this arrangement I’d end with with a crick in the neck ;-)

    However, those cubby holes look perfectly adaptable to convert into areas with something like those Roman recliners. If you could make that happen at the wall end then I might just start to like this kind of arrangement.
    The way the chair folds up would have to be changed slightly so that the front dips a bit and retreats some way back, so that you can sit up closer to the window – at an angle away from the aisle. maybe those chair/bed units can be made to have a degree of swivle?

    Ok, you haven’t completely succeeded but I’m not as dead set against the concept now ;-)

  7. CD Rates December 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    Great article, you must have done a fair amount of research for it eh? Well done on it, really.

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