Instead of offering reliable on-time service, zero baggage fees, and decent meals, airlines seem willing to try anything else to fill seats. According to Windspeed, an aerospace engineering company, one aircraft maker plans to offer its over-the-top SkyDeck seats as an option to its clients.
The upgraded aircraft will have a pair of seats, about as comfy as the ones you’ll find in the average first class cabin, that can be raised from inside the cabin until they pop out of the top of the fuselage. A spacious, aerodynamic dome on top provides unprecedented views of the skies surrounding the aircraft for two privileged passengers. Windspeed guarantees the material used for the dome is as strong as the rest of the plane, and will easily survive extreme weather conditions and other impacts, such as birdstrikes.
The dome and the elevator mechanism needed to raise the SkyDeck seats do add weight to an aircraft, which reduces the number of passengers and cargo it can carry—which, in turn, reduces revenues. But an airline could certainly charge a ridiculous premium for the seats, or allow multiple passengers to take turns trying it out during a flight for a smaller fee, further increasing revenues.
The concept, which could soon be a reality in the next couple of years once the design is perfected, seems like a feature you’re more likely to find aboard the latest obscenely-oversized cruise ships. But experiencing it at 30,000 feet is infinitely more exhilarating, and the opportunity to try it will almost certainly have passengers specifically choosing to fly the first airline that offers it on their aircraft.