What will an aircraft cabin look like in the future? An utopian experience with onboard spas and golf, or perhaps a utilitarian nightmare with triple stacked bunk beds and standing saddle seats? Let’s count down the best new cabin ideas and what it will be like to fly on tomorrow’s aircraft.
Aircraft cabins have come a long way. Back in the golden age of aviation, there were not even classes, many people sat with the equivalent of a business class seat today. Over time, new classes developed and luxury was given to more premium passengers while the economy cabin was denser and more packed.
However, it doesn’t always have to be that way, and aircraft designers are looking at ways to bring back some the golden age splendor to plane cabins today.
Starting our list today is an aircraft cabin design from Airbus themselves called the Space 2020 concept. Integrating augmented reality throughout the cabin sees Airbus creating an environment that is designed specifically for flexible seating and sleeping configuration.
It will have things like an inflight lounge with transformable modules with the cabin layout changing depending on who has booked what seats.
There will be digitally-enabled crew operations to help facilitate better-personalized service, and in some cases, there will be automated services that can deliver products without cabin crew.
This will all be powered by a personalized passenger augmented reality, focusing on passenger well-being and atmosphere right from the unique welcome and streamlined boarding process.
Airbus has also featured an “interactive zone”. The virtual pop-up projections in this area can transform you to whichever social scene you want to be in, from holographic gaming to virtual changing rooms for active shoppers. You might even be able to work out, although without showers on board, it might be very smelly indeed.
Other items include baggage management for passengers, surface lighting throughout, which look very cool. Also, say goodbye to windows with a high-definition virtual outside view.
What’s with the windows?
Many future cabin designs are removing windows, as they are weaknesses when it comes to aircraft design. Not only do they add more drag to the plane increasing fuel burn, but as soon as an airline perfects virtual windows, which are infinity bigger that real ones, or which allow passengers to change the view on a dime, like on the Spike S-152, then windows are as good as gone.
Plus, with no windows, you can now have truly creative cabin concepts such as a sky bridge at the plane’s front, allowing you to fly through the sky.
But what about low-cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet? They want to pack as many passengers onboard as possible, and these spacious open floor plan designs don’t quite work for them.
Collapsing Bed Concept
Introducing the Delft University of Technology’s collapsing bed concept. In seat mode, the beds collapse into a bench that can seat three passengers, then after take-off, they can deploy into a triple-stacked bunk. The same designers also came up with an alternative bed along the wall design, that can replace those boring window seats with triple-decked-lie-flat beds in economy.
Chaise Longue Design
But I hear you want more people than this onboard. For that, we have the Chaise Longue design with passengers suspended on swinging chairs above one another. This design doubles the number of passengers onboard with double seats per row above one another. The seat will able to rock back and forth depending on if you want to sit or lie down.
We can’t leave these crazy designs without mentioning the standing seat design from Aviointeriors Skyrider. These saddle-based standing seats only have 23 inches (58 cm) between rows, and would allow operators of short-haul flights to turn planes into flying buses. Would you fly on a plane like this? Let me know in the comments.
The Cargo Cabin
Then there is the question of the cargo cabin. On ultra-long-haul flights like London to Sydney, do aircraft need to use an entire cargo deck for cargo? After all, for cargo, it doesn’t make a difference if it’s flying over twenty-four hours or taking a few days, passengers do want the best experience as quickly as possible, so why not use the third deck for private cabins, spas, business meeting rooms or perhaps even an onboard gym? The Earth Bay’s cargo hold conversion sees it transformed with large windows and relaxed common spaces.
So far, Airbus has pitched the concept for its Airbus A350 aircraft to Qantas, but we are yet to see if the Australian airline will bring it to the market.
Other concepts that didn’t make the list include the Collins Aerospace cabin crew jump seat, allowing flight attendants to rest in a ZERO-G experience. Then there is the Heinkel Group’s reversible commuter seats that allow groups to chat together – which is very similar to the Q-suite design from Qatar.
However, all of these designs need to be overhauled in the age we live in today in 2020, where personal space is at a premium, and some people put their health on the line to travel around the world. British Firm PriestmanGoode has imagined future scenarios and taken into account new passenger behaviors driven by the global crisis. Coming up with design called the PureSkies that can be implemented within a few years, and will meet user and airline requirements for many years ahead.
These concepts feature a completely redesigned economy cabin with staggered seats that are separated from one another – so that passengers can travel alone, as a couple or as a group. They have placed a divider between each row to give that sense of privacy and protection. As inflight entertainment is a major touchpoint, it has been removed in favor for a passenger’s own device.
But the real experience is in the pure skies business class cabin. Featuring something that looks like a massage day spa, each seat is separated by a curtain and kept away from the hustle and bustle of the cabin. The seats have a minimal split line with no cracks and is created from antimicrobial materials. Passengers will have control over lights, temperature and have a personalized wardrobe for storage. Cozy indeed.
In fact, this plane design is so hygienic that before boarding, the aircraft fills with fogging disinfectant and has ultraviolet lights, sterilizing a good chunk of the environment.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. What do you think? Which cabin concept is your favorite? Let me know down in the comments below and if you enjoyed today’s content, then subscribe to the channel.
Interestingly, you can take a quiz on this topic and find out how many questions you can answer correctly. It’s right here. Good luck!