Sleepover-friendly seats, a noise-cancelling headrest and a machine that analyses passengers’ eating habits.
These are among the astonishing shortlisted entries in the 2022 Crystal Cabin Awards, which celebrates ‘designers, engineers and visionaries’ planning the ‘future of the aircraft passenger experience’. The awards are divided into eight categories, including ‘Cabin Concepts’, ‘Passenger Comfort’, ‘Sustainable Cabins’ and ‘Health and Safety’.
Commenting on the finalists, the organisers of the annual competition say: ‘As the shortlist for the 2022 edition shows, manufacturers, academia and individuals around the world are continually innovating towards reducing the environmental impact of aviation while offering new solutions to give airlines more flexibility in configuring the aircraft cabin for their customers.’ The official winners will be revealed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg on June 14. Scroll down for MailOnline Travel’s pick of the shortlisted entries…
The ‘sleepover in the skies’ train-compartment seating concept
‘Echoing traditional train compartment seating concepts, NextGC by the German Aerospace Center [pictured[ gives the “group of six” a surprising new twist,’ says the Crystal Cabins Awards
When the NextGC seats recline, they can merge to form two large beds or three small beds
Travelling in a group? This neat new concept will allow you to turn your seats into a giant shared bed.
‘Echoing traditional train compartment seating concepts, NextGC by the German Aerospace Center gives the “group of six” a surprising new twist,’ says the Crystal Cabins Awards. ‘Due to the architecture, the concept can be easily converted into a group compartment or a sleeping area.’
When the NextGC seats are partially reclined, they can form two large beds, and when they’re fully reclined, they merge to form three small beds, illustrations reveal.
The concept also does away with overhead storage bins – instead, luggage is stowed in under-seat cubbies.
The swivelling business-class seat
Jiayi Yu of the Reutlingen University in Germany is behind the ‘Shift Cabin Interior’ business-class cabin concept, pictured
The seats are designed with a ‘swivel’ option – they face forward when upright, but can move sideways into the aisle in lie-flat mode
Jiayi Yu of the Reutlingen University in Germany is behind this business-class cabin concept – the ‘Shift Cabin Interior’.
Yu set out to design a seat that would ‘make full use of the cabin area’, thus increasing the number of seats that the cabin can accommodate.
The seats are designed with a ‘swivel’ option, meaning they face forward when upright, but can move sideways into the aisle in lie-flat mode. It’s not clear, however, whether passengers will be able to use the aisles when the seats are reclined.
Turn your seat into a suite – by booking the seat in front
Aeronautical Engineer Charalambos Savvidis’ ‘Smart Space 4 Passengers’ concept enables passengers to book the seat directly in front of them and use it for their individual travel needs. These renderings show one passenger using the seat as a footrest, while another uses it to support their baby’s bassinet
The ’Smart Space 4 Passengers’ concept – developed by Aeronautical Engineer Charalambos Savvidis – enables passengers to book the seat directly in front of them and use it for their ‘individual travel needs’.
Passengers can rotate the backrest of the seat facing them 90 degrees to the side via a door-like hinge, a statement reveals. The passenger can then use the seat of the chair in front as they please.
Renderings show one passenger using the seat as a footrest, while another uses it to support their baby’s bassinet.
A classy business-class concept
The Unum One business class cabin, pictured, promises to deliver an ‘extraordinary passenger experience’
The Unum One cabin was designed by Unum Aircraft Seating in collaboration with the London-based studio Acumen Design Associates
This stylish business class cabin promises to deliver an ‘extraordinary passenger experience’.
Known as the Unum One cabin, it was designed by Unum Aircraft Seating in collaboration with the London-based studio Acumen Design Associates.
The Airspace Food Scanner (pictured), designed by Airbus Operations, compiles data about passengers’ eating habits
A full lie-flat bed, privacy doors, ‘generous’ side furniture and ‘well thought-out’ storage are among the features in each of the cabin’s suites.
The machine that studies passengers’ eating habits
Aeroplane food – and the way that passengers consume it – is at the heart of this invention from Airbus Operations.
The AI-based Airspace Food Scanner compiles data about passengers’ eating habits, identifying which types of meals prove popular in a bid to ‘better match customer demand’. The awards describe the new machine as a ‘technology-driven solution designed to tackle the problem of passenger food waste’.
It’s said that the information the Airspace Food Scanner gleans can also help to control the amount of space used to store food on board – thus cutting down on the weight of the plane and the volume of fuel used.
A fresh take on premium economy
Above is ‘Switch’ – a pastel-hued premium economy cabin concept created by Style and Design Group
Passengers in the ‘Switch’ cabin can upgrade to a 28inch- (71cm-) wide ‘solo plus’ seat
In the wake of Covid, passengers view premium economy as ‘a better option with fewer passengers and more social distancing’ – but they also expect ‘more comfort and options from the experience’, according to Style and Design Group’s designers. The ‘Switch’ cabin is their solution to this demand.
The designers describe this pastel-hued premium economy cabin concept as a ‘refreshing design’ for an airline.
It features seating that can be readjusted into a range of postures, including the dining posture, a lounge position and an ‘active sitting’ position. Companions sitting side-by-side can shift the armrest to turn two seats into one, and passengers can also upgrade to a 28inch- (71cm-) wide ‘solo plus’ seat.
Flying with a Mad Men twist
Thales and Diehl Aerospace have collaborated on the ‘In Cabin Experience Enhancer’ (pictured), which could provide a new way to ‘promote advertisements’ and ‘drive e-commerce’
Forget inflight magazines – the way advertisers target passengers could be about to change dramatically thanks to this new invention.
Thales and Diehl Aerospace have collaborated on the ‘In Cabin Experience Enhancer’ – a projection system that projects videos and graphics onto surfaces of the plane cabin, such as on the stowage bins and the walls. According to the designers, it could provide a new way to ‘promote advertisements, drive e-commerce, enhance branding, and aid crew efficiency’.
Offering insight into how the ‘In Cabin Experience Enhancer’ works, a statement says: ‘Imagine as you fly over Paris that your cabin environment transforms into an immersive view of the Champs-Elysees with life-sized views of the shops and architecture projected onto all the cabin surfaces around you, as if you were walking down the street yourself. At the same time, your in-flight entertainment seatback brings up the meal and shopping menus, you start to smell the fresh taste of coffee and croissant wafting from the galley, and all of that immersion sets you in the mood to shop duty-free for items from Paris.’
The seat that lets you recline – without annoying the passenger behind
Pictured is the ZimPrivacy seat, by Zim Aircraft Seating, which is said to set new standards for ‘privacy’ in the Premium Economy class. The seat is designed in such a way that when it reclines, it doesn’t encroach on the space of the chair behind it
This new seating concept is said to ‘set new standards’ for ‘privacy’ in the premium economy class.
The ZimPrivacy seat, by Zim Aircraft Seating, is designed in such way that when it reclines, it doesn’t encroach on the space of the chair behind it.
How? It has a ‘fixed backrest shell’ which means that when a passenger wants to lean back, the rear part of the seat slides down – rather than backwards – while the front part rises up and moves forward into a reclining position.
A stylish new electric plane service
Industrial designer Ken Kirtland is behind this design – an electric short-haul airline service known as ‘Portal’
The Portal service promises to bring travellers to their ‘destinations faster and cheaper than cars or jets, all while reducing the environmental impact of such trips’
Industrial designer Ken Kirtland is behind this design – an electric short-haul airline service known as ‘Portal’.
The service, offering an ‘unrivalled passenger experience’, promises to bring travellers to their ‘destinations faster and cheaper than cars or jets, all while reducing the environmental impact of such trips’. It’s proposed that the service would fly between America’s ‘thousands of under-utilised’ non-primary airports.
And, it seems that Portal’s passengers would travel in style – pictures show how the plane has zingy yellow seating, light wooden fixtures and expansive windows.
A ‘game-changing’ multi-purpose tray table
This plug-in tray table by Recaro Aircraft Seating is described as a ‘game-changer for airlines interested in offering passengers flexible and innovative amenities’
When passengers are finished with the plug-in table, it can be dismounted and stowed away to create extra space. It’s said that if the lightweight table was implemented on 50 aircraft – thus making them lighter – it could result in the reduction of more than 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually
This plug-in tray table by Recaro Aircraft Seating is described as a ‘game-changer for airlines interested in offering passengers flexible and innovative amenities, while also underlining green practices’.
Renderings show that the design comes in different parts, and can act as a box-shaped container or can simply serve as a table.
When in use, the table can be mounted onto the backrest of the seat by passengers or by crew members. Once passengers are finished with the plug-in table, it can be dismounted and stowed away to create an ‘extended living space’.
According to the designers, the lightweight table could reduce the weight of 50 aircraft by nearly 3,000 kilograms (6,613 lbs), resulting in the reduction of more than 1,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
The business class seat that doesn’t recline
Finnair’s new ‘breakthrough’ business class seat, which was unveiled last month, doesn’t recline. Describing the seat, Finnair designer David Kondo told MailOnline: ‘It’s more like a living space rather than an aircraft seat’
Finnair’s new ‘breakthrough’ business class seat, which was unveiled last month, doesn’t recline.
Instead, when wanting to lie down, passengers press a button on a sleek side panel that raises both the foot and leg rest to fill the gap between the seat and the cavernous footwell. Travellers then simply shuffle themselves forward and lie down.
Describing the seat, which was designed in collaboration with Collins Aerospace, Finnair designer David Kondo told MailOnline: ‘It’s more like a living space rather than an aircraft seat, so you get into your only little space and you can do whatever you want with it. You can make it your own nest.’
A new system for passengers with reduced mobility
Above is ‘Air 4 All’, a new system that will enable powered wheelchair users to remain seated in their own wheelchair for the entire flight
‘Air 4 All’ is a new system that’s said to ‘revolutionise air travel for passengers with reduced mobility by enabling powered wheelchair users to remain seated in their own wheelchair for the entire journey’.
Wheelchairs lock into place in the seat in the patented design, which ‘offers equal access to comfort, safety and dignity for all passengers’.
‘The biggest barrier in the past has been that giving greater space to passengers in wheelchairs would have reduced seat count and resulted in a loss of revenue for airlines. Air 4 All solves this and has the added benefit of enabling airlines to retain the design of their cabin on every seat,’ a statement says. Flying Disabled, PriestmanGoode, SWS Certification and Sunrise Medica worked together on the invention.
The wheelchair suite
The Fly Your Wheels Suite, pictured, is another design that enables passengers with reduced mobility to travel in a cabin with their own wheelchair. The designers say that the suite can be implemented near the first-class cabin of a single-aisle aircraft such as a Boeing 737
The Fly Your Wheels Suite is another design that enables passengers with reduced mobility to travel on board with their own WC19 manual and power wheelchairs [wheelchairs that can be used as a seat in a vehicle].
The design was developed by Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, which says that the suite can be implemented near the first-class cabin of a single-aisle aircraft such as a Boeing 737.
According to the designers, the ‘fundamental idea lies in the modification of the cabin’s closet, which has been re-engineered to provide a safe, interactive, and spacious suite for the passengers on wheelchairs’.
Virgin Atlantic’s lounge-style business-class booth
Virgin Atlantic’s ‘The Booth’, pictured, allows two passengers to ‘enjoy shared service experiences, in a lounge seating space’
Behold ‘The Booth’ – an immersive destination feature for two passengers to ‘enjoy shared service experiences, in a beautifully designed lounge seating space’.
The design concept was launched last December on a Virgin Atlantic A350.
The space, jointly developed by Virgin Atlantic design and Factorydesign, features two 27-inch touchscreen monitors and two Bluetooth audio jacks, as well as two seatbelts that allow passengers to remain within the space during turbulence.
The superyacht of the skies
Lufthansa Technik has created the ‘Explorer’ concept – a ‘multifunctional exploration vessel’ that flies. Above is the plane’s balcony, which offers passengers ‘a unique view of the airport and its surroundings’
The plane boasts luxurious features such as a ‘flying discotheque’ (pictured) and a glass floor
German design studio Lufthansa Technik’s concept would transform a wide-bodied Airbus A330 into a plane it says serves as a ‘multifunctional exploration vessel’.
The plane – named the ‘Explorer’ – boasts luxurious features such as a ‘flying discotheque’, a glass floor and a balcony, which offers passengers ‘a unique view of the airport and its surroundings’ at an elevation of 13ft (4m) over the tarmac.
A statement notes that the design is based on the ‘current trend for Explorer superyachts, which fulfil their owner’s wishes to go absolutely anywhere at any time and serve as an individual hotel and base camp for a wide variety of leisure activities and excursions’.
Crack open a drink from your own mini-fridge
The SpaceChiller, pictured, provides cold beverages and snacks at ‘food-safe temperatures within arm’s reach of a passenger’
This is a cool new idea.
Collins Aerospace has unveiled the ‘SpaceChiller’ – a ‘compact, modular cooling system’ that can be used throughout the cabin, creating mini-refrigerators that don’t ‘encroach on flight attendant workspaces or passengers’ personal space’.
The designers say that the SpaceChiller – ‘ideal for premium cabin seats’ – provides cold beverages and snacks at ‘food-safe temperatures within arm’s reach of a passenger’.
The ‘living room in the sky’
Elevate, pictured above, is a new single-aisle aircraft cabin with suites that resemble luxurious living rooms
It’s the business class seat that’s a home from home.
Designed by the innovation company Teague in collaboration with the aerospace firm Nordam, Elevate is a new single-aisle aircraft cabin with suites that resemble luxurious living rooms.
They ‘offer more personal space, privacy and comfort’ and come complete with homely fixtures such as a wall-mounted TV, an ottoman and a slatted wooden divider. Pictures show an olive-green carpet coating the floor, with side tables, and marble and light wood surfaces embellishing the space.
It’s said that Air Lab’s ‘Covid Air Purification System’ can detect the presence of coronavirus in the aeroplane cabin
The system that can tell when a passenger is Covid-positive
This useful invention sets out to fight the spread of Covid in the skies. Air Lab’s ‘Covid Air Purification System’ is described as having two functions – it ‘purifies’ the air, and can detect the presence of coronavirus in the aeroplane cabin.
It’s said that the system’s Covid Air Test Collection System can carry out tests and get results in 15 to 30 minutes, silently alerting ‘key crew members’ if the virus has been detected.
‘A positive Covid Air Test result from the Covid Air Test Collection System does not require any extreme action within the aircraft but possibly requires added rapid passenger testing at the landing gate,’ a statement notes.
The noise-cancelling headrest speaker
‘Myzone’, designed by ACM Aerospace, is a noise-cancelling speaker that’s embedded in foldable headrests of a seat
This nifty invention is a noise-cancelling speaker system that’s embedded in a seat’s foldable headrests.
Known as ‘Myzone’, the system, designed by the Aerospace company ACM Aerospace, is said to significantly cut out the noise created by a plane’s engines.
‘Compatible with any aviation seat, the designers say that the system can also use window panels and other cabin elements as a loudspeaker, attaining a sizeable three-decibel reduction in aircraft noise,’ Crystal Cabin Awards says.
Enjoy a headphone-free ‘sound zone’
The Personalized Sound Zone, pictured, is another clever feature that changes the way passengers use their in-flight entertainment systems
‘Personalized Sound Zone is a next-generation speaker system where audio sound is confined in a spherical sound zone,’ the designers say
Created by Jamco Corporation and NTT sonority, Inc, this is another clever airline feature that revolves around sound.
‘Personalized Sound Zone is a next-generation speaker system where audio sound is confined in a spherical sound zone,’ the designers say.
The Personalized Sound Zone speakers are built into the seat’s headrest, so that passengers don’t need headphones to use their in-flight entertainment systems. According to the designers, the audio from each speaker won’t filter over into other passengers’ space, but rather will form a bubble around individual passengers.
‘Enjoy audio without cumbersome headsets during your flight without disturbing others around you,’ a statement says.
For more information, visit www.crystal-cabin-award.com.