Getting a comfortable rest in the economy class cabin is an age-old problem, one which multiple designers have attempted to resolve. Now, Toyota has thrown its hat into the ring with a concept it calls the Cloud Capsule. Shortlisted for a Crystal Cabin Award this year, could this solution see us sleeping where once our bags would rest?
Could overhead bins be used for sleeping?
With the vast majority of travelers still confined to the economy class cabin, numerous designers have attempted to revolutionize the comfort levels for these passengers. Sleeping in the cheap seats isn’t always easy, given that you’re forced to remain in an upright seated position, with limited options for head, neck and leg support.
But transforming a cabin that has, for decades, remained largely the same requires some rather outside-the-box thinking. While ADSE believes we can add bunk beds above our seats, for some passengers at least, Toyota has come up with a rather different idea.
Up above passengers heads is a significant amount of real estate. On traditionally configured aircraft, this is given over to storage for cabin baggage. But if the baggage could be accommodated elsewhere, could this prime cabin space be allocated for something a bit more unusual?
Cloud capsule luggage bin sleeping
The Cloud Capsule
Toyota has floated a concept it calls the Cloud Capsule, which essentially replaces overhead luggage bins with what it calls a ‘multipurpose room’. This ‘room’ in the clouds can be used for economy passengers to get more comfortable on a long flight, with space to chill and even to sleep in a fully flat position.
The company clarifies that the capsules would only be accessible during the cruise phase of flight, as they are unlikely to be certified as safe for taxi, takeoff and landing. They are accessed by a set of stairs from the cabin, which the designers envisage installing into the row ends of the seats below.
Once up top, passengers can be strapped in to allow them to remain in the capsule in the event of the seatbelt light becoming illuminated. There’s a large IFE monitor up there, as well as space for working, relaxing and sleeping. The company says that the space would be climate controlled, with plenty of ventilation, and would be akin to the private experience available in business class seats.
Toyota has suggested that this would be an add-on booking for passengers already booked to fly in economy class seats. This, they say, would create additional revenue opportunities for airlines, as well as a unique selling point for its passengers.
But what about the bags? Well, Toyota has also redesigned the rest of the economy class cabin. Down below, seats are configured in a staggered formation to allow for luggage storage underneath the seats. The shell around the economy class seats is designed for better airflow and more privacy than typical products.
While it’s an interesting concept, its’ not the first time a concept for sleeping in luggage bin space has been floated. In the past, certification for this sort of idea is fraught with pitfalls, so it will likely be an uphill struggle to get this idea onto a plane.