A380 bunk beds the future of long-haul flying?

Airbus has flagged the possibility of creating an interior fit-out for its A380 superjumbos with premium economy bunk beds.

British newspapers are reporting that the head of interiors for Airbus, Robert Lange, said at London's Business Travel Show that bunk beds could be the answer as airlines look to improve their premium economy class.

"As the gap widens between the first and business-class product and the economy product, airlines are looking at how to get premium-economy passengers sleeping horizontally. It's some way off, but bunk beds could be the answer, as we are not currently using the full volume of the cabin," London's Telegraph quoted Mr Lange saying.

The Times reports that the concept layouts include seats that fold back into an overlapping lie-flat position, while another involves a three-tier bunk-bed layout similar to that found on a sleeper train.

Mr Lange also said airlines were looking at getting wider seats into planes to cope with the increasing number of obese passengers.

The idea of lie-flat reclining seats for all passengers is the holy grail of aircraft layouts. In late 2007, Air New Zealand flagged the idea of ditching economy seats in favour of sleeping pods in its next generation fleet of Boeing 787-9 and 777-300ER planes. The airline said at the time it was looking at ways to make the concept work for when it takes delivery of the new aircraft in 2010.

- theage.com.au