Inflight lounges with seats for take-off and landing, split-class cabins with a central divider and seats with built-in directional speakers: all new concepts that could one day appear on your next domestic or international flight, according to Zodiac Aerospace.
The manufacturer, perhaps best-known for its acclaimed Cirrus business class seats used by Cathay Pacific, recently revealed its vision for the future of air travel both when perched up the front and stuck down the back.
For starters, economy passengers needn't remain in a single seat, with economy class private sleeper bunks both a great upsell for airlines and a welcome haven for travellers.
Airlines could potentially hire out the bunks for a set number of hours each – allowing the space to be re-used by other tired travellers throughout the flight – while large galleys could double as a lounge and meeting area outside of meal service times:
That's also when smaller galleys could open up to become a self-serve snack bar to save space on-board, but could still be sectioned off when needed by the crew:
Meanwhile, the traditional economy seats would become less bus-like with the advent of high shells to help segregate school groups and large families for added privacy...
... joined by a headphone-free experience in certain seats thanks to 'hoods': serving to both block out surrounding noises and to provide audio to the passenger without disturbing others around them.
The more traditional aircraft layout – where classes of service are divided by curtains or walls from left to right, rather than from front to back – may also be in for a shake-up...
... with Zodiac's 'cabin within a cabin' potentially keeping economy class passengers to the left and premium economy guests to the right, or vice versa.
Alternately, compact self-serve snack bars and hangout zones could run the length of the cabin – equipped with retractable shelving and storage to make turbulence a breeze for the crew...
... plus handy nooks for sitting, chatting or leaning, or simply to hold your beverage while you stand.
Passengers can also mingle at a larger inflight bar and lounge, with dedicated economy class seats for take-off and landing:
That's great if you're down the back on a daytime flight and want to socialise, although on longer and overnight flights, there'd be nowhere to 'escape' the hustle and bustle.
Zodiac also takes the lounge concept a step further by morphing it into a proper dining room, where duos and small groups can chow down together away from their seats:
For guests in first class, there's a shared private suite on the horizon in a nod to Etihad's A380 First Apartments – offering a separate chair and lounge area to accommodate a couple in the same area...
... with that lounge transforming into a fully-flat bed when it's time to rest:
Of course, these cabins remain just a concept – it remains up to the airlines as to whether Zodiac's latest ideas will take flight.
Explore more of the new cabin designs by watching the following six videos, each running for just 37 seconds:
Also read: The fabulous bars, lounges and restaurants of the Boeing 747
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Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
19 Feb 2014
Total posts 446
Fewer of any seat = higher ticket prices. I can never see this happening.
12 Jun 2013
Total posts 738
Some of these are dumb ideas, but it's nice to see them thinking about alternatives. I'm convinced that sometimes we keep plunging millions of dollars into designs which were in retrospect stupid, because nobody ever bothered to actually stop and think about whether there was a better alternative.
Case in point: suitcases. How many of us used to have an old-style suitcase with either no wheels, or wheels on the far corner? Awful things, hard to drag around, kept falling over sideways. Then somebody came up with the idea that suicases should sit on their narrow end with either two or four wheels on the bottom corners. It's so obvious in retrospect that the earlier design was stupid, but they kept making them.
Business class cabins, as well. Depending on your taste you'll probably either prefer a reverse herringbone or staggered layout. Both of these layouts seem obvious in retrospect, and yet they spend decades on much worse layouts.
So yeah, I'm not convinced there's not a better Y-class alternative layout out there somewhere. The vertical dimension always seems to be rather underutilised, for instance.
Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer
28 Aug 2014
Total posts 216
Does anyone else remember the wild fantasies proposed when A380 was announced? Media had a field day postulating the future existence of restaurants, duty free shops, casinos, even on-board gyms!!
Common sense and reality eventually set in, of course, that airlines want maximum bums on seats. But it's entertaining to imagine... and nice to see the creative minds churn out new ideas, even if only fanciful!