TUDelft and Air New Zealand Economy Flat Beds

The radical KLM Flying-V passenger jet conceived by Delft University of Technology we saw last year has been shortlisted for the Crystal Cabin Awards 2020 for its innovative economy flat bed concept.

Unbeknownst to us, the presentation of the KLM Flying-V did include an interesting lie-flat sleeping solution for the economy class. You heard that right. Lie flat sleeping solution. For economy class.

TUDelft Lie-flat Sleeping Solution Economy Class
TUDelft proposed lie-flat sleeping solution for Economy Class.

But don’t go around expecting First Class kind of headroom. From what we see, it is akin to a warship sailor bunk bed where headroom are pretty low. Despite my observation, passengers supposedly can sit up.

Plus, each lie flat bunk bed will be outfitted with infotainment screen, charging point, tray table, as well as an inflatable backrest (for sitting “more upright”). From the visual, the setup resembles a capsule hostel.

As much as we dig the idea, we can’t help but to observe that in a scenario of two person on this bench-like seat wants to take a wink, the third will have obliged even if he or she don’t want to.

The proposed design has three tiers on each row of bench-like seat for three. The top tier appears to be fixed, but the middle can be slide down to create the sleep space while the bottom tier involves unfolding the seat to form the third bed.

Doesn’t look like the most elegant solution, I think, but what the heck, laying flat to sleep in an Econ class is a dream and I will take it.

That’s not the only solution Delft University of Technology has pitched to the Crystal Cabin Awards panel. There was the Eco Sleep product:

And then there’s this the Chaise Longue concept that somehow reminds us of Airbus “evil plan” to stack passengers:

The difference between Airbus’ patent and the Chaise Longue concept is, the Chaise Longue appears to be a more elegant solution and that individual seats can swivel from sitting upright to almost laying down, and any angle in between.

As we hear about Delft University of Technology’s propositions, we read that Air New Zealand has revealed its own bunk bed concept for economy class called Economy Skynest.

It looks like Air NZ’s pitch is more elegant, but at the expense of having less seat count on the same 787-9s aircraft. Economy Skynest features six lie-flat sleep pods, each stretching over 2 meters (6.6 feet) long.

Air NZ said the concept is a cumulative of three years of R&D with feedback from over 200 customers.

As of now, nothing is set in stone, though. While the airline has reportedly filed patent and trademark applications for this full-length sleep pods, it is not firm that sleep pods will be implemented.

The airline will study the prospect of installing them on aircraft making “ultra long-haul” routes. Also, it may be “Economy Skynest”, but it won’t be cheap because, Air New Zealand is anticipating customers who want to lie-down and sleep to “book the Economy Skynest in addition to their Economy Seat.”

Wait a minute. The two components add up better not be as much as or near the price of a First Class seat. Otherwise, you’d be better off booking a First Class seat. Just saying… skip ahead for the Air New Zealand video.

Images: Air New Zealand/Delft University of Technology.

Source: Flight Global/Simple Flying.