The Air company Qantas announced a new project, called Sunrise, to make its long-haul flights a hotel-like experience. Its new Business Class and First Class seats transform into real cabins, to make more comfortable flights from the east coast of Australia to Europe, which last from 18 to 22 hours.
What the CEO of Qantas Alan Joyce defines "the last frontier of global aviation" is actually a practically obligatory choice. As long as the supersonic passenger aircraft they will not return to service, the increase in the range of subsonic flights is the only chance these companies have to stay afloat.
Flying hotel cabins, can it be done?
From a "pure" engineering point of view, a non-stop flight of 16.000 km (10.000 miles) is a reasonable goal. Planes such as the Airbus A350-1000, giants with extraordinary performance, allow it without problems. If we think about the passengers' experience, however, stuff like this is exhausting.
For such long flights, still at the beginning of the last century we relied on airships: they took from five to 10 days to cross the Atlantic. Airships offered a lot of space on board: they housed cabins, dining rooms, even smoking rooms.
Today the formula is not feasible. With the limited space available on modern jetliners, compromises are needed: that's why Qantas and other companies run for cover. These 52 new seats that become mini cabins are an interesting development. Perhaps less luxurious than an Emirates flight, but with highly practical solutions.
How they are made?
At present, the Sunrise project has developed 6 First Class and 46 Business Class seats with the advice of Safran, a style center specializing in design of this kind m
The former are small cabins with their own doors. They house a parallel rectangular bed next to the large seat, the ever-present big screen and a lot of closets and compartments, including a pajama drawer. The whole is completed by a large console and a large one-piece dining table.
Even the business class seats have their own doors, and end up being more "spartan" cabins. Same as above for the closets, but no big bed: the seats make up surfaces more like bunks.
In any case, nothing remotely comparable with what we have seen so far: the comfort is undoubtedly greater. Qantas points to the future of civil aviation: experience first.
Even because the alternative is this.