October brought us the news that European airplane manufacturer Airbus was considering literally stacking people on top of each other. It sounded crazy, and is, and a lot of people mocked the concept.

But now we have yet another crazy idea from Airbus — and this one actually sounds pretty decent. In newly filed patents, the company is proposing detachable cabins, which would be lifted onto an airplane once filled with passengers:

Airbus detachable cabin The the idea here is to speed up turn around times, which would obviously translate into major savings; if planes don’t have to just sit at the gate while luggage and people are loaded, they could spend much more of their time actually flying and making money.

As Quartz pointed out, this system also bears a resemblance to the way shipping containers are loaded.

detachable cabins.png

Though being treated like a piece of cargo is perhaps not how I’d like to think of travel, this idea does make sense to me. In theory it wouldn’t degrade the passenger experience — and perhaps it could even alleviate some of the boarding rush — and if greater efficiency drives down operating costs the rise of prices might be slowed somewhat.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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