Much of the vacant space on wide-body aircraft goes unused – but not all of it.
There is plenty of vacant space on commercial aircraft, some of which is made use of, while the rest simply remains empty.
A secret room exists on wide-body aircraft like Boeing’s Dreamliner, hidden from view behind what appears to be nothing more than a small cupboard, the Telegraph newspaper reveals.
But a careful look inside this tiny compartment reveals a steep staircase that leads down to what’s known as the ‘crew rest’ – a number of seats and bunk beds where crew members can relax and sleep.
“These hidden crew areas are less than five feet (1.5 metres) high and can fit up to four people,” explains Nigel Goode, co-founder of the aircraft interior design company Priestman Goode.
This space is located in the front area at the nose of the aircraft, he says, but most passengers certainly wouldn’t notice it.
There are also unused areas in the rest of the lower level of wide-body aircraft. These have not been converted into seating due to their low height and lack of windows, making them too claustrophobic for passengers.
“Previously we’ve done work on the A340 for Lufthansa where there was a lower-level crew area converted for passenger use, where the lavatories were placed,” Goode notes.
“But the A340 is a large plane that’s not used much anymore because they’re not really economical.”
He adds: “These smaller pockets of unused space could be suitable for cabin crew, but it’s a more complicated process to convert them into passenger seats because they need to be certified, which is expensive.”
All seats must be approved by aviation authorities, something that varies depending on the route the aircraft is travelling on – and a process that has to be repeated for each individual plane, making it an option that is too laborious and pricey for many airlines.