Flying in the cargo hold could be the future of travel – and it might even be glamorous

While flying in the cargo hold might sound like the only thing worse than cramming into a tiny plane seat, it might actually be the luxurious travel experience we’ve all been waiting for.

A mock-up shows what the sleeping pods would look like. Image by Airbus

Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace have teamed up to develop sleeping berths that could fit into aircraft’s cargo compartments. Luckily, the mock-ups for the plans show that you won’t be crammed in with all the luggage; the pods are actually large, open sleeping berths that could finally make a good rest on a flight possible.

The “lower-deck modules” that the companies are designing would fit inside a plane’s cargo compartment and would be able to be switched with regular cargo containers when needed. That means planes could switch up their cargo configurations to offer the pods on flights, as needed. The first renderings of the pods even show that they could potentially be used as a kids and family area, a medical care zone, and a conference room, opening up the possibilities beyond just sleeping.

The companies say the new offerings will be in a catalogue for airlines by 2020. They will initially be available on A330 but they are also studying the feasibility of offering them for other airliners. “This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort,” said Geoff Pinner, the head of Airbus’ cabin and cargo programme, in a statement.

While not a lot of details are yet available for the plans, the allure of getting a bed during a flight is an obvious one. More airlines are included beds are part of their first-class offerings, but only time will tell whether sleeping berths in the cargo hold might be a more affordable option for those who can’t fly first-class.

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Flying in the cargo hold could be the future of travel – and it might even be glamorous
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