Apr 26, 2022 - Economy

What's next for first class air travel: floating beds

Image of a novel design for a first-class airline passenger suite

How first class air travel could look in the future. Photo courtesy of Teague

First class air travel is getting an upgrade, with more privacy, larger fold-out beds, and more space for passengers and their belongings.

The big picture: The rise of premium leisure travel is one of the biggest trends to come out of the pandemic. Airlines are catering to this new class of traveler by investing in expanded cabins, more comfortable seats and fancier airport lounges.

Here's one vision for the first class cabin of the future, from Teague, a Seattle-based design firm:

  • Its "Elevate" concept is an expansive private suite with a larger fold-out bed, more floor space, customized lighting and more stowage capacity.
  • All the extra space is possible because of a novel design twist: The furniture is mounted to the plane's sidewalls (instead of the floor) using lightweight, composite braces designed by NORDAM, a big supplier to the aerospace industry.

Why it matters: Airlines are increasingly using smaller, more efficient aircraft for long-haul flights. But that can leave first class passengers feeling a little cramped.

  • By eliminating fixed structures, Teague's "floating" design allows for a more expansive, home-like environment, even on narrow-body, single-aisle jets.
  • There's an added benefit for airlines: The lightweight structures make flights more fuel-efficient.

What to watch: No word on when the design might show up on your next flight, but Boeing is an innovation partner of Teague.

Image of a single-aisle aircraft with a new design for first class cabins.
First class cabin offers privacy, even on single-aisle jets. Photo courtesy of Teague

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