The sleeping pods are out, but a wellness area with space to exercise is coming to the world’s longest flight.
Qantas plan to introduce nonstop service from Sydney to both New York and London in 2022, which give a whole new meaning to the term “longhaul flight”.
Qantas expects to award a contract to either Boeing or Airbus later this summer to build the aircraft capable of this mission. For months, Qantas has teased that it was exploring configuring part of the cargo cabin to accommodate passengers. As far back as March 2018, Qantas CEO Alan 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.
Gyms, Not Beds
Over a year later, Qantas has scrapped plans for “cargo class” sleeping pods. Speaking at the IATA Conference in Seoul this week, Joyce described how the new aircraft would be configured:
It will be four classes. It will have a new business class, a new first class, and for the economy passengers and premium economy passengers, we’re looking at what we’re calling a fourth zone for people to stretch, to exercise, to hydrate on.
That’s an interesting change in direction from one spectrum (sleep) to the other (rapid movement). Will there be showers onboard as well?
Qantas is insisting upon an aircraft that can carry a full load of passengers and a full cargo load. Let’s not forget that Qantas is not just in the passenger business, but the cargo business as well…and that can often be even more lucrative than the souls above. While the concept of sleeping pods was not only trendsetting, but possible (see Airbus renderings below), it just did not make financial sense.
I was really hoping Qantas would introduce sleeping pods on its new ultra-longhaul jets. Sadly, we’ll have a gym instead…with prayers that Qantas has thought through how passengers can clean themselves after a workout.
> Read More: “Cargo Class” Has Great Potential