Airbus has released plans to develop lower deck sleeper beds for travellers that could happen in their A330 and A350 aircraft as soon as 2020.

“Just like a hostel in the sky?” we hear you ask.

Well not exactly and let’s hope that smelly feet and people drying their underwear aren’t part of the deal, but its probably not far off if this single image circulating the internet is anything to go by.

The image from Airbus (above) shows a stylish, Japanese pod-like design, with two levels of bunks, comfy looking duvets, small bookshelves, seating areas and ambient lighting to aid a better sleep.

The glory days... Continental 747 Upstairs Lounge

The glory days… The proposed Continental 747 Upstairs Lounge from 1970

Airbus also released concept sketches of an onboard Kid Zone, Medical Centre, Conference Room and Lounge area. All ideas that could possibly feature in the cargo hold to make better use of the space and bring more relief for passengers on ultra long haul flights.

It all looks very appealing indeed and feels a bit like a “Why haven’t airlines done this already?” moment.

lounge-karryon-airbus

In a joint statement with Zodiac Aerospace, who created the concept, Airbus said;

“The sleeper compartments would fit inside the aircraft’s cargo compartments with the modules easily interchangeable with regular cargo containers,”

“This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort,”

Geoff Pinner, head of Airbus’ cabin and cargo programme.

Airbus and Zodiac say the sleeping berths will not only improve passenger comfort on longer flights but also enable airlines to add even more value for their commercial operations, offering another (hopefully more economical) choice beyond First or Business Class.

At this stage, it’s not clear whether passengers will be able to upgrade to a sleeper pod mid-flight or if they will have to pre-book a space before leaving.

kidzone-karryon

It was only last week that the CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, hinted that the airline is exploring a new four-class structure, with part of the cargo hold to be used for sleeper beds and even an exercise area.

You can read more about that story here.

So no it wasn’t an April fool!

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says inflight comfort was front-of-mind when planning the route.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce & CEO Qantas International Alison Webster arriving on the inaugural QF9 direct flight to London

“We have already received very positive feedback from several airlines on our first mock-ups,” said Christophe Bernardini, head of Zodiac’s aerospace cabin division.

Airlines will initially be able to choose from a catalogue of certified solutions by 2020 on A330 aircraft. The innovation builds on both Airbus’ and Zodiac Aerospace’s experience in producing and integrating lower-deck crew-rest facilities.

If this and Alan Joyce’s announcement last week is anything to go by, we think the take up from airlines for the sleeper pods will be huge.

Watch this space.

READ: Qantas considers ‘Exercise class’ and ‘Sleep Class’

READ: Qatar Airways new Kids Club makes flying more fun

READ: Emirates launch new First Class to raise stakes (AGAIN)

What do you think about the sleeper pods? Sound like a great idea?