UPDATE. Can you imagine yourself being seated in the cargo compartment of an airplane admiring the outside through huge windows? Well, the concept of an airline cargo compartment window passenger seat is gaining momentum.
EarthBay has been shortlisted for two awards:
- Crystal Cabin Awards 2020, in Hamburg, Germany, at the end of March.
- International Yacht and Aviation Awards, in Venice, Italy, at the end of May.
Today’s news that EarthBay has been shortlisted for these awards mean that the airline industry is curious about the viability of airline cargo compartment window seats.
Being “shortlisted” for the award means that EarthBay, the inventor of the cargo compartment window seat design is now on the list of final candidates for the 2020 Awards.
Passenger advantage of a cargo compartment window seat
The concept of cargo compartment window passenger seats would allow for different passenger configurations of the forward cargo compartment on a widebody airplane, incorporating a spectacular window view.
It is a design that the brilliant French aeronautical engineer Florian Barjot sees as a viable idea. The project’s name, EarthBay, was started in 2017. Barjot hopes to see the concept in service by 2024.
The cargo compartment window seat concept
The know-how of how to convert a cargo bay into a passenger cabin is available today. Installing passenger seats and windows in the plane’s cargo compartment is a rather simple concept.
Florian Barjot said,
“it consists of replacing the airplane cargo door with a piece of a structure composed of large sets of windows and a reinforced metallic framing structure. This offers the potential to bring light into the lower deck and create premium cabin space for passengers and an outstanding view of the sky and the earth.”
The many seating configuration possibilities built around the cargo compartment window concept
The new cabin layout possibilities could be embedded either on widebody commercial airplanes or on executive airplanes.
Furthermore, the design can be customized to the choice of each individual airline. The airline has a choice of installing up to 12 passenger seats, make the forward cargo hold into a suite, or a lounge. The aft cargo compartment would remain a space for cargo, of course.
Other airplane concepts currently in the works
A lot of new concepts of air travel and improved passenger cabin features are currently sweeping the aviation industry. New solutions for passenger comfort, hybrid and electric airplanes, even supersonic and hypersonic airplanes are also in development.
Pros and Cons of cargo compartment window seating
- Designed for widebody airplanes the concept would add passenger comfort on long flights.
- The spectacular view that passengers will have is superior to other large-sized cabin windows on the market today.
- Airlines have an opportunity to generate up to US$4 million a year in revenue from the concept. But first, the airline would have to analyze the potential for profit. Each airline would need to weigh the difference between lost cargo revenue versus passenger revenue gained from the new configuration.
- Because of regulations, passengers cannot occupy the cargo compartment area during takeoff and landing. The seats would only be available for use during cruise flight. Thus, passengers would have to occupy seats in the main cabin during non-cruise phases of flight. How would passengers feel about the need to have to occupy different seats at different phases of flight?
- High conversion cost for the airline.
- Virtual (artificial) cabin window technology is coming. This design will allow a complete view of the outside of the airplane from any seat. These airplane cabins won’t have any physical windows. Instead, cameras will be mounted all around the airplane. The cameras project the outside view from the airplane in real-time. the views are presented by partial or whole-wall screens embedded inside the cabin walls, cabin ceiling, or even the cabin floor. This, in turn, could present a challenge to the cargo compartment door window solution.
EarthBay’s valid philosophy on the Virtual (fake) versus Window (real) concepts
Speaking about the virtual versus the window concept as a means to look outside the airplane, Florian is sharing his deep opinion about screens.
He points out that screens and windows don’t have the same function, or “feel” of reality. Florian sites an example:
“Imagine yourself going on a vacation at this beautiful hotel overlooking the beach. You check into your hotel suite. But, instead of a window overlooking the beach, you are presented with a solid wall facing the beach. However, to enable you to enjoy the beach view, a gigantic TV-screen has been mounted on the wall showing a projection of the live view outside that wall.”
“Our reptilian brain understands and recognizes that everything on a screen is likely fake, such as Instagram filters, deepfake technology, “news” on Facebook, etc. I believe that in a near future, airplane luxury will be by access to a genuine link (a real window) with the world outside. A direct view of our Earth.”
EarthBay’s Florian Barjot
So what do you think about the concept of converting a cargo compartment into a beautiful window seat cabin? Has Florian Barjot invented a new concept that will become popular among airlines and passengers alike?
For complete information or to contact Florian you can visit EarthBay’s website here.
Also, if you have an informative comment to this article you can contact Captain Jetson here. Your comment may be included if we publish an update to this article.
Featured Image: Cargo compartment suite configuration. EarthBay.