Japanese airline turns empty seats into an advantage
Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, the simple act of going stepping out your front door has become something to stop and ask yourself “Do I really need to?” about. And If leaving your house or apartment has become a questionable decision, that goes double for leaving the country.
As a result, airlines have a lot of empty seats these days, as pleasure travel plans are pretty much on hold worldwide and businesspeople are conducting as much of their business as they can online. However, on Wednesday Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways’ flight from Shanghai to Tokyo’s Haneda airport had every seat filled…even though there were no human passengers aside from the flight crew.
Instead, strapped into the seats were boxes of masks, testing kits, and other medical supplies to be used to help combat the coronavirus in Japan. According to ANA, by utilizing the 192 seats of the Boing 787-9’s passenger space in this manner, they’re able to boost the plane’s cargo capacity by 40 percent.
The initiative came about when ANA noticed that the drop-off in air travel that was causing carriers to remove flights from their schedules has also created a shortage of air freight capacity. Earlier this month, ANA Flight 968 (the Shanghai-to-Haneda route) began using the passenger cabin’s overhead storage bins to carry masks and other medical supplies, and now the program has evolved to what’s shown in the above interior photos and the video below.
With no clear timeline as to when normal air travel patterns will return, ANA says it plans to expand the program to other routes in the near future.