Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Airplanes of the future

I've been looking at the specifications of the new Boeing 747-8 air mansion. The interior design is very nice and looks more like a fancy hotel than an aeroplane. Of course, the focus is on first class. It took me a while, but I found a video that shows economy class, and it doesn't look promising.

There is an option for economy passengers to pay a premium for an actual bed. The video shows about 8 beds in total. I can't even imagine what they'd cost. Will broke economy passengers like me who can't sleep while seated ever get a chance to have a nice, long-haul flight?

It seems no one is ever going to do anything about economy class. I came across one person's theory that it costs regular airlines with regular planes $20 to carry the weight of an empty soda can. Someone remarked at that rate it would cost $15,000 per passenger, which supports Jeremy's theory that it's the first class passengers paying for the entire flight.

I did a quick, random search on first class costs from Sydney to Rome. The price quoted was almost exactly $15,000 for a return air fare. Sydney to New York was $1000 more. The prices for economy travel to those same destinations? Around $2,800 and $2,600 respectively (and we all know you can travel for cheaper than that).

That's a pretty substantial hike-up in costs. If I could afford it, I would say it's worth it. As shameful as that sounds to me, as if $15,000 couldn't be better spent, I hate hate HATE travelling in cattle class so much, I'd pay the extra for a stint in first class if I had the pocket change. As it happens, forking out the cash for an economy ticket hurts me quite sufficiently.

Anyway, the news is great for business and first class travellers, and even the crew will be treated to luxury. The plane itself is very nice looking, you should check it out even though it'll just make economy class travellers even more depressed.

Images and video of the Boeing 747-8


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