This award-winning idea would bring beds to an airplane’s cargo hold

One of the most frustrating parts of flying is trying to sleep, but that may all change if the flights of the future fill their cargo holds with comfortable beds.

Travel News - beds on planes
The plane interiors will feature beds. Image by Airbus

That’s the award-winning idea from Airbus, which took home the top prize for “cabin concepts” at the recent Crystal Cabin Awards. The international awards honour airline innovations that could prove to be the future of flying. For example, last year’s winner of the same award was given to the Qatar Airways QSuite, which allows four business class seats to be arranged around a table, or even into a double bed.

Airbus’ winner, the “Lower Deck Pax Experience” modules, took things even further, turning the cargo hold into the perfect place for travellers to relax. Moving outside the usual passenger spaces, the modules are flexible compartments that can be put into the areas of planes typically used for cargo. While it might sound like a claustrophobe’s worst nightmare, heading into the hold would actually provide more space in the form of beds, lounges and even play areas for families.

Travel News - cabins
Airbus has designed a lower cabin with beds. Image by Airbus

According to Airbus, as long-haul flights continue to develop, travellers may soon be requesting more room to stretch. Beyond just travellers’ luggage, airlines make money by hauling freight loads. However, in Airbus’ concept, the units can quickly replace freight items and help airlines maximise their revenue based on the route, season and the amount of cargo being shipped.

Airbus, which developed the project with Safran, said in a press release that the product would “offer new opportunities for additional services to passengers, improving their experience while enabling airlines to differentiate and add value for their commercial operations.”