Qantas Nixes Plan for Bunk Beds, Gym on Ultra-Long-Haul ‘Project Sunrise’ Flights

Jun 3, 2019

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Bunk beds for economy passengers and a gym in the cargo hold? It seemed like an innovation too good to be true, and it turns out it was.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce confirmed that for the airline’s hopeful launch (by 2022) of extreme long-haul flights from Australia to London and New York, those grand plans will never come to fruition, Australian news site Traveller.com.au reports.

The airline originally floated the idea in March 2018 for its future ultra-long-haul flights. But as executives worked through some of the financial calculations, Joyce found that “putting stuff in the baggage hold … doesn’t work,” he said to Traveller.com.au. In addition to the potential gym and bunk beds, Qantas was exploring the possibility of children’s play areas, office space or a bar inside the cargo hold to help relieve passengers’ restlessness on the approximately 21-hour flights.

Instead, Joyce says that the nearly day-long nonstop flights from Melbourne and Sydney, dubbed “Project Sunrise,” could feature a wellness space for passengers to stretch their legs. “We are, on the aircraft, looking at a zone that we’re calling the ‘fourth zone,’ for people to stretch and exercise and hydrate,” he said. “And that will be part of the product that we use to launch.”

Qantas is currently in the process of taking bids from Boeing and Airbus on planes for the flights, which are projected to launch by 2022 and would become the longest nonstop routes in the world. The Australian carrier will choose between Airbus’ A350 and Boeing’s 777X.

Although the planes haven’t been selected yet, nor have the cabin designs been revealed, Qantas says the aircraft will be outfitted with four different cabin class: first, business, premium economy and economy.

Featured image by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

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