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Air Travel Future Trends Program at AIX Hamburg is Packed with Goodness

Packed #PaxEx Future Trends Program at @aix_expo Hamburg

The Passenger-Friendly Way this Independent Designer Would Approach Vertical Cabins

I’ve written about Olivier Grégoire’s proposal for a vertical cabin design previously on Skift.

He first approached me in December of last year with a unique concept to make vertical cabin design work around a passenger needs for space and privacy during long haul flights.

Grégoire has since sent me a link to a video he produced which illustrates more clearly how the design would work. He proposes the cabin concept for the A350 aircraft.

Reuters has recently confirmed the information I reported on from Airbus back in 2014, when the A350 first debuted that Airbus would consider a higher-density A350, especially in Asia where Airbus expects high demand.

So it’s a good time to think about more humane ways to get 400 people onboard.

Grégoire is not the only designer who believes horizontal layouts of seats will lead to insufferable conditions on ultra-long haul flights. A number of designers in the industry have emphasised that 3D seating is the way forward, even for premium cabins.

Even Airbus has considered stacking seats vertically to alleviate discomfort. But I believe Grégoire’s design is unique, elegant, and passenger friendly.

His design would give Economy passengers far more room than they could expect to get in today’s Economy cabins and greater separation from passengers around them.

  • Increased pitch (to 42 inches)
  • A better seat recline angle (35° instead of 15°).
  • Ease of access and evacuation, resulting from three aisles.
  • Improved relative privacy for passengers, with individual room for storage of carry-on items.

It’s also compelling that Olivier does not work in the aviation industry. In fact, he designs bedding–which might explain his focus on removing pain points.

That an objective third-party designer also believes vertical lay-outs are the way going forward, should at least make us a bit more open minded about this possibility. No initial design proposal is perfect, but Grégoire has really thought this through.

While his design concept is not a Crystal Cabin Award nominee–as he has not yet submitted it for review by the judges–I have suggested that Grégoire present a more detailed proposal for next year’s competition.

One of the best things about the Crystal Cabin Awards is that it not only encourages companies within aviation to think beyond conventional designs and propose new solutions, but it also welcomes perspectives from independent designers, companies, and educational institutions.

If you have the next great idea which could make aviation better for all of us, consider submitting it for review.

Week of the Superseat: What Will the Reign of the New Throne Bring?

As mentioned last week, and first revealed by Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, Emirates Airline is finally ready to make its move on revolutionising the passenger experience and it’s obviously taken its time to come up with a whopper of a wallop. But what does it mean for the industry going forward? Is it really a game changer?

Falling into the new seat category which AII has appropriately dubbed ‘super business class’, Emirates says the design of the new Business Class seat is “inspired by the interior of a modern sports car, captured in the diamond stick pattern of a light grey full leather cover, ergonomically designed headrest, and its sleek overall look and feel.”

The Best Bits of Emirates’ A380 Two-Class Cabin Flash Tour

Emirates takes us on a quick guided tour of its new two-class A380 aircraft.

Best Bits, By-the-Numbers, Quick Facts, Not-So Bests (AND EXCITING UPDATE) Follow

The Best Bits

  • Warm and authentic welcome onboard from all crew–nice eye contact. For a video tour this feels genuine. The crew are really this nice onboard, I’ve found.
  • Amazing in-seat IFE screens (more those below)
  • Those kids kits and meals are terrific! (starting at 1:11)
  • The spiral stairway to the upper deck is gorgeous.
  • The onboard lounge is one of the best in the industry.
  • The brand wall monument at forward stairway is rich and bold.

Emirates’ two-class A380 configuration by the numbers

Emirates 2-Class A380 Exterior, Source: Emirates
  • 58 flatbed seats in Business Class
  • 557 seats in Economy Class
  • 1 Onboard Lounge.
  • 13.3 inch Economy class in-flight entertainment screens (the widest individual in-seat screens in the industry).
  • 2,200 channels of entertainment on ice.
  • Over 220,000 passengers have flown the two-class A380 on over 450 flights since it first entered service in December of last year.

2-Class A380 Destinations: CopenhagenBangkokManchester and Kuala Lumpur.

Emirates A380 Fleet Quick-Facts

  • Emirates has more A380s than any other airline which fly to 36 destinations around the world from Dubai.
  • Emirates’ 74th A380 was recently added to the fleet.
  • Of the airline’s 74 A380s in Emirates’ fleet, four feature the two-class cabins.
  • Washington D.C is Emirates’ newest A380 destination launched in 2016
  • The airline will soon add BirminghamPrague and Taipei  to its A380 network.

Not-So Best Bits

Don’t read these as “Bad Bits” because there are none. These are merely not-so best.

  • New antimacassar colours maybe? A bit too sherbet.
  • Bulkhead and galley wall gold brush work. I’m not feeling it.
  • Having customers walk through bare galleys to get to Business class through beautiful spiral staircase, and up a bare staircase to get to branded wall feels backwards. Of course, there are good service reasons for this, but it could be done better. We know there are beautiful galleys available now–and quick, simple attractive ways to make plain aircraft galleys attractive. (Scroll down the linked article and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Interiors are high-quality, but could be ready for trim/styling/palette update.
  • In general, Emirates offers one of the finest in-flight experiences in the skies. But the decor needs a review. It’s not unattractive, only a bit too gilded lily.

All interiors aesthetics are subjective, so these are only an observation based on my personal design taste. Having flown on Emirates many times before (though never these A380s), I must say that I liked the decor once onboard the aircraft itself.

But it has been around for a while and, in terms of design aesthetic,  I believe it’s showing its age.

Perhaps focus groups have liked this design in the markets served, but comparing it to the design of Etihad’s new A380s in similar markets, I’d say there’s call to consider a light image refresh soon. With so many aircraft entering the fleet, it might be difficult to coordinate, but it’s also an ideal opportunity.

Perhaps there are already plans underway. I’ve heard rumours to this effect, but I’ve been hearing those rumours for a while. We’ll just have to keep watching the skies over Dubai.

Whether or not you’d trim these cabins differently, they are still pretty hard to beat.


UPDATE: Aircraft Interiors International Magazine has announced that Emirates will be revealing an industry changing ‘super Business class’ seat on its new B777 aircraft. The new seat will be revealed at ITB, Berlin next week. Emirates CEO, Sir Tim Clark, tells Aircraft Interiors International Magazine of the seat:

“We gave the seat a fresh and modern look, retained all the existing features that our customers love and added a few more, while improving the seating and sleeping comfort,” stated Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline.

It’s one to keep an eye out for!