Airbus files US patent for 'sleeping boxes' for passengers

UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has filed a patent in the United States for economy-class “sleeping boxes” for long haul international flights.

According to the application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the sleeping boxes, to be made of plastic or fiber-reinforced plastic, would be stacked beside and on top of each other in the rear of the aircraft. 

Walls are padded for safety and boxes are positioned in such a way that passengers lie perpendicular to the direction of the flight, which is reportedly safer in the event of a crash or aircraft turbulence.

Each unit would be equipped with a personal TV, reclining pillows, a reading light, and video camera, which would allow flight attendants to monitor passengers. A personal service unit consisting of an emergency oxygen mask, individual air conditioning vent, loud speaker and lamp would also be available in each box.

Passengers will still need to be strapped in, but the sleeping boxes can be occupied even during taxi, takeoff, and landing. 

In-flight meals will be served directly to those occupying boxes, though there is an option to buy an additional seat on top of a sleeping box. Another option is for two passengers to share a sleeping box and a seat, using them alternately.