Having your own space on an airplane has never been so important with social distancing at the top of everyone’s minds.
But will you pay more to spread over a row of seats in the economy class?
Lufthansa is hoping so. Currently, the German airline is testing its new Sleeper’s Row concept on its flights from Frankfurt, Germany to São Paulo, Brazil. The trials will continue until mid-December.
The concept is that economic passengers can nab a row of three to four seats and then stretch across them, replicating the experience of a lie-flat business class bed. A blanket, pillow and seat topper will be provided to travelers to optimize comfort, and priority boarding will also be offered.
Those interested must buy the upgrade at the airport for $260 on top of the price of their original ticket, either at check-in or at the gate.
This concept is not new. Since 2011, Air New Zealand has offered its Economy Skycoach, which is a similar idea. The Skycoach is marketed by Air New Zealand as ideal for family travelers, and prices differ depending on the flight.
European aerospace corporation Airbus launched its ‘Settee Corner’ concept in 2019, which uses the three-seat configuration of the economy as the inspiration for a luxury seat in a lie-flat, sofa-style that would take up less space and weigh less than the typical Business Class seat.
And earlier this year, Air New Zealand elevated economy lie flat beds to the next level, filing patent and trademark applications for a new concept, “Economy Skynest” envisaging six full-length lie-flat sleep pods that could be installed in the economy cabin.
Aviation has been one of the hardest hit industries due to the unprecedented COVID-19. Experts hope that once an effective vaccine becomes widely available the industry can get back on its feet. Lufthansa was severely impacted by the pandemic too, leading to measures like laying off employees and cutting down operational costs.