Air travel has been distant from most people’s minds this past year, but that hasn’t halted individuals searching for other ways to revolutionize the in-flight experience, evolving as the future of flying.
For over a period, airplane seat designers have been dreaming of inventive economy cabin designs that come along with their travel knowledge, looking for a perfect balance between squeezing as many travelers in-flight as feasible and maintaining the flier’s experience relatively enjoyable. Though the stand-up airplane chairs, which were floating for the last couple of years, are yet to find the light of day. Along with this, many designers are still working on reevaluating the plane cabin, for the plane seat overhaul that seemed to be on the horizon this past year never really materialized in the wake of the pandemic.
Crystal Cabin Awards highlights the freshest patterns in plane interiors, well-known for continually watching out for the most recent updates and developments. After the pandemic delayed the declaration of the 2020 award winners, this year, the Crystal Cabin Awards has narrowed down its standard eight classifications to two key honors that perceive where aviation is right now: the Judges’ Choice class and the Clean and Safe Air Travel grant.
As this remains one of the interesting facts about air travel, from loosening up your legs on the base part of a multi-level economy seat cabin to twisting up in a compartment incorporated into the overhead locker, the nominees offer a brief look into the possible future of flying.
Dual-Level Seat Cabin
The Chaise Longue Economy Seat Project introduces a multi-level seating arrangement that would see alternate rows lifted to permit travelers in the economy to appreciate the reclining seats– and all-important legroom – normally held for those forking out for first-class tickets.
The Dual Level Seat design hails from the mind of Alejandro Núñez Vicente, a 21-year-old Spanish native who studies at TU Delft University in the Netherlands. Speaking to CNN Travel, he said he came up with this concept after his experience of traveling across Europe in the Economy class and being continually disappointed by the lack of legroom on short-haul flights.
His ideas differed from the other multi-level cabin concepts with a lack of legroom in that he suggested alternating each row of seats between on-floor seating and elevated seating.
Floor seating (lower row) would let passengers feel like resting on a couch, offering a lounge experience with spacious stretchable legroom. Whereas the elevated seating (upper row) offers an SUV experience making it possible, for instance, to cross the legs due to the increased legroom and overall living space”. This concept eradicates the overhead lockers to make more cabin space and instead opts to store carry-ons under seats. Speaking to CNN, Núñez Vicente said that he believed doing so would increase legroom.
The goal of this concept was to create a multi-level cabin experience for passengers seated on both levels that offers something appealing while during their journey.
Núñez Vicente said, “The current economy class is often limited to a single or slightly reclined position that impedes the user from having a comfortable and relaxing flight experience.” Also, he added that the double-decker concept in flights could be more suitable for social distancing during pandemic times.
Núñez Vicente is working towards bringing the Dual Level Seat concept to life in partnership with TU Delft professors, which means it has a very real possibility you may see aircraft with double-decker cabins way too soon!
“For now, this is an internal student-led university concept that still hasn’t been officially introduced to airlines. However, some groups in the aerospace sector have already shown interest in the Chaise Longue Economy Seat concept, presenting possible opportunities for future collaborations,” says Núñez Vicente.
Up In The Clouds
The Chaise Longue from the Judges’ Choice is not the only design that offers the double-decker seating configuration recognized by Crystal Cabin Awards this year. The Cloud Capsule designed by Toyota Boshoku also imagines a dual level airplane cabin. This design also makes more use of the cabin space by allowing a two-tier traveler system where passengers can rest inside a capsule once the plane has reached its cruising altitude.
According to a Japanese company statement, the Cloud Capsules located above the rows of economy seats should “make economy class travelers safer, more enjoyable and more comfortable while creating more revenue opportunities for the airlines.”
The idea would be for passengers who buy an economy seat ticket and shall purchase the Cloud Capsule access as an add-on service, which Toyota Boshoku terms it “a multi-purpose home that matches the experience of a business class seat.” The capsule would offer more privacy in the overcrowded economy cabins and control its heating and cooling settings.
In the meantime, the Clean and Safe Air Travel award category recognizes designs, counting the UV Disinfection Wand from Boeing, which collaborated with companies including Etihad Airways routes to dream up a “portable magic wand” that could clean a plane cabin.
While speaking with CNN Travel, Lukas Kaestner, representative of the Crystal Cabin Awards, says that the awards body has seen increasingly inventive economy seat designs over the past few long time.
Kaestner also adds in his statement, “Of course, the likelihood of, say, double-decker cabin seats and capsules taking flight in the next few years is still slim but we shouldn’t underestimate the trend and agenda-setting capacity of such concepts for aviation as an industry.”