It had to happen. For some years airlines and sometimes aircraft manufacturers have talked of replacing conventional seating with “stand-up” seats, which would allow higher density configurations.
But now a new Bullmanistan-based LCC start-up has announced plans to convert the bellyhold of its fleet of six 737 Classics to accommodate an additional 74 passengers – using specially adapted containers, fitted with double sleeper seats, mood lighting and individual toilets. The airline, jetBull, estimates it can reduce its unit costs by over 40% by adding the seating.
Moreover, says CEO Glenda Wankowski, “we can significantly increase our yield premium with this high quality seating”. She went on, “we like to think of the new units as a sort of middle class version of Etihad’s The Residence. We call it The Room. Our market research suggests there is a market for this product priced at around a 70% premium to the standard knee-crushing configuration above deck.”
Dismissing concerns that passengers would not be able to see outside, given they are confined within the hold of the aircraft, Ms Wankowski said “they won’t need to. They’ll have 40 inch TVs built in to one wall of their accommodation, as well as free WiFi; and karaoke is available as an optional extra.”
The combination of more seats and higher prices for the new seats will give jetBull a near impregnable profit margin against its competitors. There is also potential for connectivity as the airline grows its network, says Ms Wankowski: “The Rooms can be unloaded intact and trans-shipped direct to the hold of the connecting flight, avoiding the need for passenger reprocessing. We are working with our base at Nambia Airport to ensure all necessary security procedures are in place.”
Bullmanistan CAA spokesman Rodney Kopalotski stated that the new concept appeared to conform to all prescribed aviation regulations, adding that “with a little tweak here and there we can ensure that any necessary amendments to the AOC are put in place quickly, as soon as the necessary funds are transferred to my account.”
jetBull has enlisted Oscar winning actress and star of the hit movie “The Room”, Brie Larson to be the face of this innovative product. In an interview, Ms Larson stated: “I know a thing or two about being locked up in a small room, but it’s pretty safe to say that if my characters were as nice as jetBull’s, she probably never would have left”.