VIDEO: Of course we can sleep together!

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Sleeper beds for economy class. It’s a titillating concept, but is it realistic or outrageously idealistic?

We’ve talked about it here. Now I ask the inventor of the Air Sleeper to convince me and you to embrace a paradigm shift in the way we think about travel.

Are you ready to embrace? I am.

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11 Responses to VIDEO: Of course we can sleep together!

  1. Rob Mark February 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    What a fun interview Mary. I was wondering at first how you were going to make it all work, but you did.

    How the heck would people climb in to the berths though? Would there be a ladder in the aisle or what?

    Personally too, I love the outtakes.

    Rob

  2. Traveller Tom February 16, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

    Great interview Mary. You did the homework with readers, asked the tough questions and the answers from Indi were very thorough and convincing. I now believe that the AirSleeper will become the core of future commercial aviation. It is a very well thought out offering. Congratulations on bringing this to life !!

  3. Bob J February 17, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Nice job on the interview. As before the seating sounds interesting, but how well will it go over with the airlines, unknown as of yet. I’ll bet it would go over very well with passengers on those long flights overseas that can’t afford business class prices. I’d use them.
    The out-takes are a good touch and very funny. Thank you for going back to “red” it really looks good on you. Also, thanks for the pulled back shot of you walking along. I’m just going to say… nice.

  4. Ira Hudson February 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    Many companies are going into survival mode. As a marketing guy, I recommend companies stick their heads out a little to differentiate themselves from the competition. A little investment in these times can go a long way. The AirSleeper seems like a natural for one of the long haul carriers to set themselves apart. BTW, I liked the outtakes as well…adds a very human touch.

  5. 7x7 February 19, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    The comment from Ira “IJ” Hudson is the opportunity smart airlines will capture.

    IJ must know consumer market interest well as former technology communications lead for NBC.

    From the website http://www.airsleeper.info it seems that the Air Sleeper can be retrofitted as well. Any airline can do this! wow !

  6. Mary Kirby February 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Thanks for your continued support, guys! I think there is a ray of hope that airframers will look more seriously at this type of offering. I just got off the phone with James Park. He is convinced that the problems associated with bringing stacked sleepers to economy can be solved. “The question is the commitment to the undertaking,” he notes.

    Ira, welcome to the blog and thanks for your comment. I do hope that carriers “stick their heads out”, as you say. They might just see the future.

  7. Ed February 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    Hi Mary,

    I would like to see the Air Sleeper in the flesh (so to speak) to full appreciate the design. From the images and information on the Air Sleeper website, I have a few questions and comments:

    1. It looks as if the seats are facing across the cabin, i.e. you are flying sideways. Is this correct? I believe that sideways facing seats are no longer allowed in cars because of crash safety issues. What is the brace position for a sideways facing seat? Are there side head restraints?

    (If not sideways, they show blocks of at least 10 seats, hence where would the aisles go?)

    2. How many columns would they have across a widebody plane? 3, with 2 aisles? I wouldn’t like to be in the middle column with my head beside an aisle with just a shallow divider, as shown in image 3 on the Images page on their site.

    3. I’m not sure I like the idea of the cabin baggage lockers being accessible from both front and back, as this would make it easier for someone to steal your stuff from behind when the seat was upright. Again, a problem only for a middle column.

    4. Is there storage under the seat for the person on the lower tier? Or does everyone have to use the lockers above the upper tier? They look very small. Forcing passengers to check in any/more baggage is a terrible idea.

    5. The cabin crew access is great, but can the design prevent liquid spills from the top tier coming down over the people in the bottom tier?

    6. Any tables for eating/working?

  8. Dr. Indi Rajasingham February 20, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    Hi all:
    Mary has passed on some questions from readers and I have provided a perspective….enjoy!
    Indi.

    Question1: It looks as if the seats are facing across the cabin, i.e. you are flying sideways. Is this correct? I believe that sideways facing seats are no longer allowed in cars because of crash safety issues. What is the brace position for a sideways facing seat? Are there side head restraints?

    Answer: Many of the Airsleeper models face sideways or at an angle to the direction of flight.

    Contrary to the reader’s suggestion, safety is one of the key benefits of these AirSleepers! Let me explain. Motion laterally or at an angle distributes the force of impact over a larger surface area and supports the body better. The human body is not designed to support high loads as in crashes with internal body structures. Please see some of our early Patents for example US 6,155,519 and EP 0926065. Our AirSleepers for spacecraft go even further for distributed support, considering the prolonged accelerations and decelerations even under normal operation. By the way, I am not aware of cars with side facing seats as the reader notes, however, I know of busses and trains that do.

    With regard to brace position – there is no brace position needed in the Air Sleeper as the force is automatically distributed over the body. Every position can be a Brace position. In fact even in an unanticipated collision there is minimal injury.

    This contrasts with conventional forward facing seats or flat-beds, where if there is no Brace the upper body will be flung forward that may result in either the lap belt severing the body in two or the head whipping forward and hitting the seat in front. I should add that even with a Braced position with a loading of 16Gs both these catastrophies are still possible as again the human frame is not designed to support these loads – A problem the AirSleeper avoids. Remember that under the crash conditions of 16Gs, your weight is multiplied by 16, in the forward direction so you will “fall” forwards accelerating with 16 times your weight – if you are a 150 pounds your weight during crash in this forward fall will be 2400 pounds..almost the weight of your car!

    The AirSleeper has carefully designed support surfaces for the head, upper and lower body to distribute the load and minimize injury in any position during crash conditions.

    Question 2: How many columns would they have across a widebody plane? 3, with 2 aisles? I wouldn’t like to be in the middle column with my head beside an aisle with just a shallow divider, as shown in image 3 on the Images page on their site.

    Answer: The number of columns can be one two or three, in current aircraft with respectively 1, 1or 2 aisles. Now, any conventional seat arrangement – seat or flat-bed – has “Aisle seats” with heads next to the aisle so I am not sure what the question is about – but let me try to clarify the differences.

    The AirSleeper does better. In a single aisle configuration there are no heads near the aisle. In fact our design provides a “QuietZone” away from the aisle for sleep for all passengers. In a 2 aisle configuration the center aisle will have a head end next to one aisle, but most Air Sleeper models have a “sound deadening” and “pillow retaining!” “cowling” that gives privacy even in the absence of a divider suggested by the reader.

    Question 3: I’m not sure I like the idea of the cabin baggage lockers being accessible from both front and back, as this would make it easier for someone to steal your stuff from behind when the seat was upright. Again, a problem only for a middle column.

    Answer: As the reader notes this is an issue – by the way shared with conventional seats – for the center column… and I should add only for the lower level of the Air Sleeper. Also, what the reader does not note is that it is not an issue for the side columns ! which puts the AirSleeper ahead of conventional arrangements for five of six cases!

    Addressing the shared problem of getting “stuff” stolen in conventional seats (where it is in a bin behind you) or in the center column lower level of the Air Sleeper.(where it is behind you also)

    First, if it has not been a problem in conventional cabins there is no reason for it to become a problem in AirSleepers, particularly as only one in six is affected ! but wait… it gets even better! You can store your valuables in the front half of your bin and guard it with your life ! So even this beats conventional seats. Note also that because of the economy of space the lockers will hold much more than conventional lockers.

    Question 4: Is there storage under the seat for the person on the lower tier? Or does everyone have to use the lockers above the upper tier? They look very small. Forcing passengers to check in any/more baggage is a terrible idea.

    Answer: There is storage under the lower tier. The basis for sharing storage is the prerogative of the airline and their policies. However what we can say is that the total storage space per passenger in the lockers can exceed any conventional arrangement with the same number passenger squished into the same space (passenger density).

    Question 5: The cabin crew access is great, but can the design prevent liquid spills from the top tier coming down over the people in the bottom tier?

    Answer: This is an easy solution of simply having a waterproof membrane in the AirSleeper structure. Better designs will have them removable as well for periodic cleaning.

    Question 6: Any tables for eating/working?

    Answer: Yes of course! Some models have tables that fold to the sides of the AirSleeper frame. Others have more innovative designs…. Stay tuned!

  9. Ed February 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    Dr. Rajasingham, thanks for your replies to my questions. Looks like you have it all worked out!

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