A French aeronautics engineer has conceived a design that would transform an aircraft's cargo hold into a place for more passengers. Florian Barjot conceptualized a design that would replace the cargo door with a an aluminum and titanium frame holding rows of windows. This project is named EarthBay. Positioned to be at the forward cargo bay, this would transform the section into a light-filled cabin which airlines can customize to their preference.
In a report by Lonely Planet, airlines can transform the front cargo hold into a suite with sleeping quarters, VIP lounge area, or more room for business class seats. This design will also allow low-cost carriers to add more economy class seats.
According to the report, "floor-to-ceiling windows on a plane seem like a risk, but each set would comprise multiple layers of transparent materials dedicated to specific functions, like impact protection, pressure sealing, and redundancy. To remain compliant with safety regulations, the re-imagined space would only be accessible once the plane hit cruising altitude, so any passenger who bought a seat below deck would have to stay upstairs, buckled in, during taxiing, take-off, and landing.:
Barjot foresees that this product will be in service by 2024 but has been working on this since 2017. The EarthBay concept will be made compatible for new airplanes and will also allow airlines to have the option to retrofit their existing cabins. Barjot sees that EarthBay will generate the airline up to $4 million per aircraft per year.
According to Barjot, “passengers prefer windows. Looking outside during a flight is...real entertainment that only a plane can provide."