The plane cabins of the future may be here sooner than you think – and could mean more legroom for passengers and some fairly fancy digital wizardry if the aviation industry’s innovators have anything to do with it.
The Crystal Cabin Awards have shortlisted 85 contenders for accolades in eight categories and are described as the ‘Oscars’ for futuristic cabin designs. Some entries are recently introduced products, others are concepts.
Strong entries include heated stone flooring, touch screen windows and face-cradle head rests, which have been designed by teams in Austria and Brazil.
United Airlines has launched the Polaris business class, which gives every passenger aisle access
The Delta One suite on the Airbus A350 provides every business class flier with their own sealed off cabin area. Delta introduces the world’s first all-suite business class cabin which offers seats each accessible by sliding doors. The suite will debut on Delta’s A350-900 in 2017 and be retrofitted on Delta’s existing 777-200 fleet starting in 2018.
Aircraft manufacturers, airlines, suppliers, engineering firms and universities from 21 countries are battling it out for the awards.
The Crystal Cabin Award, run by Hamburg Aviation, has eight categories – Cabin Concepts, Cabin Systems, Electronic Systems, Greener Cabin, Health, Safety and Environment, Material and Components, Passenger Comfort Hardware, University, and Visionary Concepts.
American carriers Delta and United have both been shortlisted for the annual cabin award due to their new business class products.
The Delta One suite on the Airbus A350 provides every business class flier with their own sealed off cabin area.
United Airlines, meanwhile, has launched the Polaris business class, which gives every passenger aisle access.
Canadian manufacturer Bombardier is also in the running for the Crystal Cabin award for the first time, with two submissions.
Airbus is short-listed for its Smart Cabin family-friendly cabin concept where seats can foldaway
The innovators at BE Aerospace envisage an area designed with family travel in mind
The C-Series cabin concept is designed for short and medium-haul airliners and is said to compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 range.
The cabin, which launched with Swiss Air Lines and Air Baltic in 2016, claims its seats offer in-flight comfort for all passengers.
Meanwhile Airbus has unveiled a ‘smart cabin reconfiguration’ concept where crew can adjust seating based on reservations for the flight. For example, if a flight doesn’t have many passengers then the last rows of seats can be packed away and moved, providing fliers with more legroom.
B/E Aerospace has also devised a cabin with an adjustable family friendly cabin layout.
Another entry making waves is Kestrel’s VIP concept for the Boeing 787, which converts a long haul aircraft for private use
In the running for an award is an exclusive private jet cabin with slick interiors that feature curved bench areas and long panoramic windows, developed by Lufthansa Technik and Mercedes-Benz. The S class of cabins features a galley for live cooking and a VIP lavatory for 16 passengers. The spiral layout is the central design theme extending throughout the aircraft from the entrance all the way to the bedroom
Airbus and Jamco have teamed up to develop a new cabin arrangement, spacious enough for four-person dining
Forget feeling the chill next time you fly, private jet innovations under consideration for an accolade include heated stone flooring designed by F.List GmbH in Austria.
Also in the running is an exclusive private jet cabin with slick interiors that feature curved bench areas and long panoramic windows, developed by Lufthansa Technik and Mercedes-Benz.
Another entry making waves is Kestrel’s VIP concept for the Boeing 787, which converts a long haul aircraft for private use.
Airbus and Jamco have teamed up to develop a new cabin arrangement, spacious enough for four-person dining.
Private jet innovations under consideration for an accolade include heated stone flooring which comes in 11 different stone types (left) and Kreuger aviation has developed the idea of a digital mirror to keep fliers posted on important announcements while freshening up (right)
Shortlisted entries include the Vision Systems window pane, which is a touch screen that projects flight information onto the window
Touch screens (right) and illuminated floor pathways (left) feature in Lufthansa’s designs for the future
The 11th incarnation of the awards includes several digital innovations to make flying a more enjoyable experience.
Shortlisted entries include the Vision Systems window pane, which is a touch screen that projects flight information onto the window.
Other Kickstarter projects such as the FaceCradle, which supports flyers heads while they sleep, have also made the shortlist.
Meanwhile a team from the University of Rio de Janeiro has pitched the idea of 3D printing in-flight meals.
Other exciting proposals include the In-2-Sense digital tray table by In-2-Tech, which can also work as a keyboard for tablets.
In the sustainable category notable entries include an environmentally friendly lavatory from Zodiac Aerospace.
There is also a Re-Trolley from Airbus for compressing litter while it passes through the cabin and engineering firm Altran has designed a cabin trolley that serves passengers without needing to be manned by flight attendants