An outlandish idea for providing more comfortable long-haul economy flying has been picked up as a finalist for the Crystal Cabin Awards. The Economy Sky-Dream from ADSE Consulting and Engineering sees groups of three seats converted into triple bunk beds, letting passengers stretch out and sleep on those longer flights.
Crystal clear ideas for sleeping in economy
Floated as a concept earlier in the year, the Economy Sky-Dream has been nominated as a finalist in the Crystal Cabin Awards 2021. The concept, developed by ADSE Consulting and Engineering, sees the removal of overhead bins in favor of a sleeping area for economy class passengers.
As part of its entry to the Crystal Cabin Awards, ADSE stated that,
“Economy Sky-dream offers a superb economy class sleeping experience for long-haul flights. It is unique in its class as it offers a space-efficient solution that meets applicable certification requirements and creates an additional revenue opportunity for airlines.”
Essentially, the concept sees the storage space above the central row of passengers relocated to make space for bunks. Each group of three seats would have three bunk beds above, the lower of which is raised for taxi, takeoff and landing.
Groups of six passengers are seated facing one another, a small but critical detail in providing the space for this sleeping area. As there is no seatback on which to supply IFE and a tray table, trays are located on fold-up units underneath their armrest.
Safety briefings are transmitted to screens located on the sides of the lower bunk. As this would be a rather inconvenient angle for viewing movies, this would likely be all they were used for. Airlines could opt to place ads on the screens also, but IFE would be more conveniently supplied on a bring-your-own-device basis.
On some widebody aircraft, the Sky-Dream would mean a reduction in passenger density, with three rather than four sitting in the middle section. However, ADSE is confident that this would be adequately offset by the increased revenue possibilities for lie flat comfort, adding another fare tier to economy class seats.
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Becoming a bed
Once the aircraft reaches cruise, passengers would have the option to transit into lie flat beds, with one bed for each passenger. The first sleeping platform lowers down towards the seats, giving adequate headroom to both the lower and middle sleeping passengers.
The top and middle bunk are accessed by a fold-down ladder. The third passenger would find space to sleep across the group of three seats, which feature marginally wider cushions and no architecture between the seats for a more comfortable surface.
All three sleeping areas are equipped with passenger service units, which provide ventilation and speakers for cabin announcements. Every passenger has access to a seatbelt, enabling them to remain sleeping in the event of turbulence. Crucially, each passenger service unit also houses the emergency oxygen supply for a depressurization emergency.
Of course, the passengers have now lost a place to store their luggage, as the overhead bins have been removed. However, ADSE suggests that a typical cabin-sized suitcase can be adequately accommodated underneath the seats, with retaining bars to prevent them from sliding out.
ADSE says that the solution is easily retrofitted to all modern widebody aircraft, from the 787 to the A350 and 777 lines. Although the company is yet to receive certification for the product, it is hopeful that it has ticked all the boxes and that this shouldn’t be an issue.
The Economy Sky-Dream has been shortlisted in the ‘Judges Choice’ awards for 2021’s Crystal Cabin Awards. Winners will be announced at the digital Aircraft Interiors Expo, taking place around the virtual Aircraft Interiors Expo (14 – 16 September 2021).
What do you think about bunk beds for long-haul economy? Let us know in the comments.