The quest to fit more passengers onto a plane has reached new heights – or perhaps lows – with this novel proposal to turn part of an aircraft's cargo hold into a windowless cabin for economy class travellers.
Revealed in a patent application by aircraft design and fitout firm Zodiac Aerospace, the "Lower Deck Cabin Experience" admittedly has more than a touch of Upstairs, Downstairs about it.
Suitable for larger aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner, along with the Airbus A350, seeks as way for "what has traditionally been a cargo area of a passenger aircraft to be used as a lower deck cabin."
There'd be room enough for two discrete downstairs cabins...
... each with stairwells from the upper or main deck.
What's missing? Windows. No matter: the idea is that screens running the length of the downstairs cabin would show a live view of what's outside the aircraft.
Zodiac has outlined a number of layouts for the lower deck, using conventional seating arrangements...
... as well as a 'metro'-style layout in which passengers would face the centre of the plane (with an additional single row of seats running along the middle).
With no room overhead room for carry-on bags, stowage bins would be built into the sidewalls – but Zodiac also suggests that part of the lower deck could have 'cubbies' for bag storage, with the same zone also containing vending machines for inflight snacks.
(Small 'trolley lift' shafts would allow for meals to be easily lowered from the main deck kitchens.)
Of course, this doesn't have to be a ploy to get more bums onto the cheap seats – one of these nooks might make for an exclusive downstairs bar or lounge for business or first class passengers.
Click here to peruse the full patent application.
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