Unless you’re willing to fork over the cash, catching some serious shut-eye on a long-haul flight, in coach at least, can be tricky. That is, unless you find paper-thin blankets, half-conscious elbow jousting and nodding off in an upright position as you’re blasted with Sahara-level dry air to be conducive to a solid slumber. (But, hey, at least they dimmed the lights.)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines wants you to forget about all those terrible, no good, very bad attempts at sleep that you may have experienced on past flights by partnering with peer-to-peer lodging platform Airbnb to offer travelers the best night’s sleep they’ve ever had on an airplane.
It should be mentioned that said airplane isn’t actually going anywhere.
In the fine tradition of converting decommissioned aircraft into comfortable living spaces, KLM has transformed a well-traveled (3,675 trips around the globe) wide-body MD-11 jetliner into a hip little hostelry as part of Airbnb’s “Night At” promotion in which the public is given the opportunity, via contest, to hunker down for a night in “distinctive and unprecedented accommodations” free of charge.
Officially retired from service this past fall, the Airbus in question is temporarily parked at KLM’s hub, Schiphol airport outside of Amsterdam. Aside from the fact that the plane-turned-pop-up apartment is situated in a secure location just off a runaway at Europe’s fourth busiest airport, guests can expect to find many of the trappings of a “normal” Airbnb listing: Wi-Fi, toiletries, basic cooking supplies, tasteful decor, a coffeemaker, a cozy king-size bed and a curated selection of games, books and movies. “Snakes on a Plane" or "Top Gun," anyone?
There are, however, some key differences between “Spacious Airplane Apartment” and non-plane Airbnb rental: This specific listing has 116 windows and eight — count ‘em, eight! — cramped bathrooms for living out any non-airborne mile-high club fantasies.
Similar to other Airbnb properties, the plane has a firm set of house rules that must be observed by guests: no smoking when the no smoking light is on, no shenanigans with the emergency exit slide and, most importantly, no flying. KLM insists that guests “treat the plane like you treat your own plane” and asks that the plants are watered and the fish are fed. And in what might be a deal-breaker for some, no alcohol is allowed onboard. So much for that Mr. & Mrs. T Bloody Mary in the morning.
As you can see from the photos, Amsterdam-based design studio TANK has done a lovely job converting a cramped plane cabin into a stylish and functional living space with nearly 4,000 square feet to lounge/romp/do cartwheels in.
The KLM "Night At" contest, open to registered Airbnb users, is for a single night’s stay in the plane (travel to and from Schiphol is provided) but I can imagine some would want to stick around these snazzy-looking digs for a bit longer. One caveat, however, might be the shower situation — or lack thereof.
Open to both single travelers and families (there’s a separate kids’ room with two beds and a play area), the contest ends Nov. 20. To enter, Airbnb users need to hit the “contact host” button on the listing page and explain why, in 100 words or less, they want to travel to the Netherlands to spend a single night onboard a converted airliner. Three winners will be chosen for three individual overnight stays at the end of this month.
Looking around Airbnb, this special one-off Airbnb listing isn't the only plane-bound rental up for grabs in the Netherlands. At Teuge International Airport, aviation nuts can unwind in a vintage Ilyushin 18 Soviet turboprop that's been refurbished into a "luxury suite" complete with Jacuzzi tub and infrared sauna for $471 per night.
Related on MNN:
- Nest provides Airbnb hosts with its signature smart thermostat
- Airbnb invades L.A. with celebrity-curated prefab pop-up listings
- All along the water tower: Tom Dixon's sky-high townhouse