You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about plane travel, and unless they’re ultra-rich, it’s likely to be negative. The width of airplane seats has shrunk 1.5 inches in the last ten years and legroom is about to become a thing of the past. But the European airplane manufacturer, Airbus, has created a new way to travel the skies that promises comfort. I, however, am skeptical.
Airbus has created sleeping berths that fit into the cargo sections on airplanes, with plans to implement them by 2020. Cargo holds, as you know, are underneath the plane where, say, you’d put your dog. But Airbus is working around the clock to convince us that we should lounge in the Hades of an aircraft, where our luggage gets mysteriously torn apart.
Geoff Pinner, the head of cabin and cargo at Airbus, told the The Telegraph, “On a long-haul flight, the airline could potentially rent out each of these spaces to a number of passengers in different time slots throughout the flight.”
While in theory, the idea of stretching out on a flight, especially a cross-continental flight, is very appealing, I can’t imagine this working out very well. First of all, people aren’t particularly “chill” on flights, and introducing a system of shared nap time modules when people are drugged up on their friend’s Ambien is a recipe for an angry tweet storm. Secondly, last year alone 18 pets died in the cargo of United airline flights. Perhaps those fatalities happened during take off or landing, when Airbus will make the berths off limits, but I'm not one to take chances midair.
The whole thing seems like a quasi-scam to make those of us who can't afford business or first class feel more included. It's like if they were to say they made the seats smaller so we'd get to know our neighbors on the plane better. Now they're shoving us into the cargo hold and calling it luxury. What I want to know is what the aristocrats in first class are going to do with all of the extra room once we're stuck Titanic-style in the cargo hold.