While some in the Chinese airline industry are talking about standing room only “seating”, frequent flyers over on FlyerTalk are discussing the possibilities of lie-flat seating in economy class.
Brko initiates the discussion thusly:
I’ve never heard of bunk bed style passenger areas even being considered, so I assume it’s utterly impractical. Is it because most people don’t want to lie down during a flight? Or does it actually take up more space? I suppose safely getting people food and security concerns during flights also plays a factor.
While, as tlott points out, Air New Zealand currently offers a SkyCouch option (essentially turning three economy-class seats into a couch), others opine that the main drawback to lie-flat seating in economy is, as one might expect, cost.
Airlines have a hard time selling 2 rows of E+ for a few bucks more. The overwhelming majority of Coach passengers will choose lower cost over comfort. ~Tchiowa
I can’t see the airlines being keen on it – it would totally cannibalise J class offerings. ~Scots_Al
In an era when people question whether it’s worth $149 for E+ on UA TPAC (basically extra leg room and nothing else), could you really sell Y-BUNK for $1,500 on that route? ~Often1
Based on these comments, it might seem fair to assume we will never see lie-flat options in coach on most airlines. Then again, as zkzkz adroitly observes, lie-flat in business-class didn’t used to be common either:
The natural expectation then is that an upstart like Norwegian would try it out and push the rest of the industry to follow. That’s exactly what Virgin did and how we got lie flat seats in business when the major carriers were afraid of cannibalising their F product.
Though not impossible, lie-flat economy-class seats certainly seem unlikely in the near term.
Having said that, I would be interested to hear opinions from travelers who have enjoyed Air New Zealand’s SkyCouch. Was it significantly better? How much more were you willing to pay for it?
And hypothetically, if airlines began offering SkyLoveSeats (two seats together that could be turned into a mini-couch), might there be an audience?
Read the thread in its entirety: What makes a lie-down economy class impractical?