Dutch engineering and consultancy firm ADSE has floated an interesting concept to make sleeping in economy class much easier than ever before. The Economy Sky-Dream envisions removing the central luggage compartments and replacing them with not one but two bunk beds. Here’s what you need to know.
How to sleep in economy
For as long as there has been an economy class section, airlines and cabin designers have mulled over ways to create a more comfortable experience. While seats have become more ergonomic and clever design has helped the legroom feel more expansive, none yet have cracked the issue of letting the passenger sleep in comfort.
Dutch engineering and consultancy firm ADSE has, however, come up with an innovative solution. Rather than trying to create more space on the cabin floor, what if people could find a place to sleep above their heads? This stackable bunk bed concept creates not one but two sleeping platforms on widebody aircraft, replacing the overhead bins with places to rest.
The idea is intended to challenge the concept of long-haul economy class facilities. Aimed at aircraft like the A350 and 777, it would be a novel approach to sleeping on widebody aircraft in economy. This concept is called the ‘Economy Sky-Dream.’
What is the Sky-Dream?
In seating mode, required for taxi, takeoff and landing, the Sky-Dream looks pretty ordinary. A bank of three seats with under-seat storage and folding armrests offer a pretty standard outlook, although unusually, they face another bank of three seats.
With no seatback available for tray tables or screens, the passengers will find a foldup table under their armrest, and safety briefings performed on screens on the sides of the bunks.
Once meal service is completed, the concept transforms to provide bunk sleeping facilities for all three passengers. First, the armrests of the three-seat block are raised to allow one passenger to sleep at cabin level.
The first bunk is pulled down to the height of the headrests, providing a second sleeping platform. Up at the top of the cabin, a second bunk is accessed by extending the ladder.
Up in the bunks, a passenger service unit (PSU) provides ventilation, as well as a charging point for mobile devices. These PSUs would also house the oxygen supply and masks, to be deployed in the event of a depressurization incident.
Some challenges to overcome
Of course, the addition of the two more PSUs and the various mechanics needed for the bunks will inevitably add weight to the aircraft. Not only that, but the concept reduces passenger density a little, with an average seat pitch of 37 inches. The configuration would rely on a 3-3-3 cabin layout, whereas some widebody aircraft fly 10-abreast.
Nevertheless, the company believes these losses can be offset by the revenue-generating possibilities of the lie flat product. Speaking to Runway Girl Network last year, Maurice Boon, technical consultant for ADSE, said,
“The reduced passenger density can be compensated in the ticket prices for the passengers flying a bunk bed. The weight reduction of fewer passengers and less luggage is quite significant and possibly can reduce the overall weight for an entire section of bunk beds.”
There is, of course, the question of passenger abilities and whether two out of three fliers would be capable and comfortable with climbing the ladder. Boon suggests that airlines would need to closely monitor who is booking the bunks, and ensure they are of able body to make the transit to the sleeping platform.
Would you like to try one of these bunk beds? Let us know in the comments.