Startup airline flypop may be about to get creative when it comes to passenger comfort. While it doesn’t intend on having a premium cabin as such, it may offer passengers the chance to purchase three-seat economy sleeper rows if such an initiative proves cost-effective. Carriers like Air New Zealand and Lufthansa have already offered similar products.
Weighing up the idea of sleeper rows
flypop is a startup carrier that wants to shake up the UK-India market by offering flights for prices as low as £99 ($131) one way. This will give it an edge over its legacy and premium competition on routes to the likes of Ahmedabad and Amritsar. Indeed, Simple Flying reported in June that fares on existing services were typically around the £600 ($793) mark.
One reason why flypop is able to offer such low fares is the fact that its densely-configured Airbus A330-300s will offer lower per-seat operating costs. However, despite aiming to accommodate in the region of 400 passengers, some extra comfort may be available. Speaking at the World Aviation Festival, flypop CEO Nino Judge explained that:
“I really love the Air New Zealand Skycouch, and I’m surprised that didn’t take off. We’re looking into that, because, if you buy three seats, then you can turn them into a bed, and that might be very useful. And we are looking into that to see if it’s cost-effective.”
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Already seen at other airlines
As Judge alluded to, the idea of using three seats as a bed has already been deployed at Air New Zealand. As seen in the photograph above, the product affords passengers the space to have a lie down, without needing to pay the premium fares demanded by business class flatbeds. The airline has Skycouch rows on its Boeing 777s and 787-9s.
Sleep well on board 🛏️☁️ Lufthansa Economy Class passengers can now book a Sleeper's Row on long-haul flights with a duration of at least 11 hours. You get an entire row of seats to yourself along with a mattress pad, pillow and blanket. More info: https://t.co/tUPo2Vvbr1 pic.twitter.com/YbBL19bKf5
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) July 30, 2021
German flag carrier Lufthansa has also tapped into this market in recent years. The airline began trialing this in November 2020 in the economy cabins of its Boeing 747-8 aircraft. The scheme made use of the space afforded by lower demand levels, and was met with positive feedback. In August 2021, it permanently rolled the product out on 11+ hour flights.
Fleet about to double in size
Last month, flypop partnered with Hi Fly to get its first aircraft off the ground. Before long, this A330-300 was making headlines by delivering bottled water to northern Canada. Next week, it is set to be joined by a second aircraft, with Judge explaining that:
“We’ve got one aircraft generating revenue, and another coming on the 15th of December. So that’s two aircraft, doing zero LOPA cargo. And depending on the Indian market, we’ll carry on doing that, whilst the demand is there.”
In terms of when flypop will commence passenger operations, Judge added that it “might test [its] second cities with charters to start with” as early as January. This is because India’s restrictions are more accommodating towards such flights. For starting scheduled flights, he concluded that “the next peak [in demand] is April, so that’s what we’re aiming for.”
What do you make of this seating concept? Have you ever sampled a similar product on another airline? Let us know know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!