Would you take a nap in a plane’s cargo hold?

Companies are designing a sleeper area in the otherwise dingy, dark place underneath the space where passengers are sitting. Source: Shutterstock.

WHAT IF WE TOLD YOU that you could soon prevent a neck strain from an awkward sleeping position during a long-haul flight? But what if we told you it also means you’ll have to sleep in the plane’s (likely filthy) cargo hold?

Hold up, hear us out. It’s not as bad as it sounds.

While you weren’t looking, continual advancements in aerospace technology have made for some very cool in-flight comfort innovations.

Some already exist, such as Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways’ revolutionary QSuite, while others are still at the conceptual stage. Lots are also being done to ensure that economy passengers will start enjoying long-haul flights more, such as seats with fold down cushions and flexible seats for easy configuration.

But Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace have even better ideas.

Some planes reserve a space in the cargo for cabin crew to rest during long-haul flights. Yes, a sleeper area in the otherwise dingy, dark place underneath the space where passengers are sitting. That space is usually been fitted with a cargo container that has bunk beds installed.

Source: Airbus.

Working hand-in-hand, the companies are designing and constructing new lie-flat beds to fit in the lower deck cargo holds. This will allow passengers to go in and take a proper nap.

According to Airbus officials, the sleeping berths would be installed as modules that could quickly be moved out of the way for regular cargo fittings during an aircraft’s typical airport turnaround.

The beds will be made available on Airbus’ A330 widebody aircraft first, from as early as 2020. Airbus is also looking at offering similar sleeper compartments on its A350 airliner.

Last month, Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said the airline is studying options for making ultra-long haul flights more bearable for passengers, Bloomberg reported.

Qantas is exploring direct links from Australia to the US and Europe that would require travelers spend as many as 17 consecutive hours in flight. For those flights, the airline could introduce a new four-class structure, with part of the cargo hold utilized for beds.