In an era when airlines are stripping more and more away — with many, most recently, charging for the use of overhead bins — Airbus is presenting an alternative. Developed by A3, Airbus’ California-based innovation arm, Transpose is a concept for a new type of aircraft with plug-and-play interiors, custom tailored to the duration and destination of a particular flight.
Modular technology is already used to shift freight pallets in cargo aircrafts, but Airbus’s proposed application of it is new — and reimagines what commercial air travel can be. Hypothetically, an aircraft could be fitted with sleeping pods for a red-eye from New York to London, and then swapped — in less than an hour — for a coffee shop and standard seating on a flight from from London to Athens.
Airbus has been building planes with customer satisfaction in mind as of late. Just look at Singapore Airlines’ A350, designed to minimize jet lag on long-haul flights with an improved air management and humidification system, and LED lights that sync to natural circadian rhythms. But there’s no guarantee that Transpose will take off. Airlines may not want to give up valuable seating to provide travelers with a restaurant or gym, valuing cash flow over customer satisfaction.