It was a few weeks ago that Airbus unveiled their new jumbo aircraft. Initially the hype was not so much about carrying more people per aircraft, but mainly about getting double beds and casinos and bars for long haul flights. Well airlines could easily put those extra amenities onto planes right now, but instead they would rather squeeze on more passengers.
When the airlines squeeze on more passengers onto each plane, the flying experience becomes more unpleasant for each passenger. Obviously. Tall passengers get their knees thumped, unless in a premium priced seats, you can't recline as far as you'd like, it's almost impossible to squeeze past the people next to you unless they get up. You could be losing hours of sleeptime anyway, yet you are regularly told to straighten seat backs and buckle up for takeoff or landing or turbulence. If perchance the guy sitting next to you does nod off, he will inevitably spill into your space.
Is there another way?
In the centres of crowded Japanese cities, there are a number of "capsule" or "pod" hotels. If each flying customer was in an individual pod, these could be stacked up against the sides of the plane at least three or four high. This gives each customer more privacy and also the opportunity to stretch out and sleep for the entire journey. Certainly for the "red-eye" flights, I'd prefer that. Even without the space or weight or cost of individual pods, why not have stacked bunks as they do on some sleeper trains. Then there should be no requirement to be forced to sit upright for takeoff and landing if you accept being strapped down at those times.
This idea has got to take off. The only question is what they will be called. Skypods? Flypods?