If the Airbus patent ever becomes reality, this boarding style would be a thing of the past. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Unless you’re deathly afraid of planes, one of the worst things about flying is the sheer tedium of it. It’s nothing but indeterminate waiting — waiting for security, waiting to board, waiting to reach your destination.
Here’s how it works.
On normal planes, passengers line up to board and shuffle in one at a time. It’s inefficient and pretty time-consuming.
Photo: REUTERS/Yuya Shino
The plane manufacturer Airbus thinks it has a new way of doing things — and it requires a revolution in plane design.
Airbus suggests detaching the passenger cabin altogether, instead loading passengers in a specially designed bay in the airport.
Once fully loaded, the plane can taxi into the bay, ready to receive its passengers.
The passengers can then be lowered into place — like an articulated truck, or a shipping container — and the plane is good to go.
Every minute spent idling on the tarmac is time wasted. The time freed up by not loading passengers directly could reduce turnaround time and allow planes to make more flights — making more money for the airlines.
As soon as the compartment is removed, a plane would be ready to make another flight, with no need to wait for cleaning or luggage unloading. It would also make it easy for any plane to carry freight cargo when required.
If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same basic principle as Thunderbird 2 from the TV show Thunderbirds.
But don’t expect to see this in an airport near you anytime soon. This would be a massive undertaking, requiring a radical redesign not just of planes, but also airports.
But Airbus is clearly keen to be on the cutting edge of aircraft technology and is well known for creating hundreds of strange patents every year.
Earlier this year, Airbus was granted a patent for a way to fit more passengers into planes — by stacking them on top of one another.
In 2013, it was granted another space-saving patent. This one required passengers to perch on standing seats for the duration of their flights.
If this doesn’t sound too fun, then another Airbus patent has a solution that could alleviate your discomfort: virtual reality headsets for passengers.
You can read more about some of the craziest plane patents here.
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