Qantas CEO Alan Joyce made headlines this week for hinting about placing passengers in the cargo hold on longhaul routes. It’s actually not so far-fetched an idea.
This was not a Michael O’Leary-type joke. We’re not talking about chaining passengers down like an African slave trading ship (which was certainly no joke, but a crime against humanity). Instead, we’re talking about a blast from the past. Can you say Boeing Stratocruiser?
Here’s the problem (and potential) for Qantas: ultra-longhaul routes, like the new London to Perth nonstop service utilizing a Boeing 787-9, cannot carry both a full passenger full cargo load. With this weight restriction, part of the cargo hold remains empty.
How can that space be effectively utilized? Asked about it, Joyce stated:
One of the concepts that we have is maybe if we’re not carrying freight you do something lower where cargo is on the aircraft, do you have an area where people can walk? Do you have berths like on a train?
There’s a lot of ‘out there’ thinking that’s going on.. I don’t know if in 2022 if there’s another going to be another class but if there is Qantas is likely to be the airline that creates it.
But don’t get your hopes up jet yet. Qantas is working closely with Boeing and Airbus on new configurations of the 777 and A350 that can serve London and New York nonstop from Sydney and Melbourne with full passenger and cargo loads. If that happens, forget about the new passenger berths. I’m hoping Boeing and Airbus won’t come through…
(H/T Jackie on Flyertalk)