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30th of April 2017

Automotive



7 Ingenious Ways to Blunt the Horror of Modern Aviation

Design cannot fix the hellscape that is modern aviation. Even the most well-crafted planes can’t erase the TSA or stop airlines charging you for every last thing.

But clever aircraft interiors can make flying more manageable, maybe even pleasant. At this year’s Aviation Interior Expo in Hamburg, Germany, the experts got together to hash out the future of aviation, and hey, it’s looking OK. The following ideas won the annual Crystal Cabin awards for excellence, and they promise to make your time in a plane a tad prettier, greener, and more entertaining.

Giving Flying Garbage a Squeeze

Is there a more neglected hero of aviation than the humble service trolley? Airbus’ futuristic ReTrolley design puts the workhorse exactly where it belongs—center aisle—thanks to a clever design that makes it easier to collect and organize cabin garbage. Two big compartments separate the recyclables from the landfill-bound, while three additional swappable modules give flight attendants a variety of collection options. Stick compostable organics in one, dump liquids in the other, and smash soda (or, let’s be real, Bloody Mary mix) cans in the last.

Airbus

Is there a more neglected hero of aviation than the humble service trolley? Airbus’ futuristic ReTrolley design puts the workhorse exactly where it belongs—center aisle—thanks to a clever design that makes it easier to collect and organize cabin garbage. Two big compartments separate the recyclables from the landfill-bound, while three additional swappable modules give flight attendants a variety of collection options. Stick compostable organics in one, dump liquids in the other, and smash soda (or, let’s be real, Bloody Mary mix) cans in the last.

First Class Privacy, Business Class Prices

Delta’s “Delta One Suite” took the top prize in the sexy “Cabin Concepts” category, which pit the spacious contender against others from Bombardier and United. Delta takes a concept previously confined to first class—pretending other flyers do not exist—and extending it to those paying lower airfare. The Thompson Aero and Factorydesign collaboration allows flyers in lie-flat beds to close a real, live door between themselves and the aisle. A thoughtful, illuminated “Do Not Disturb” sign ensures even well-meaning attendants won’t come a’knockin’.

Delta Air Lines

Delta’s “Delta One Suite” took the top prize in the sexy “Cabin Concepts” category, which pit the spacious contender against others from Bombardier and United. Delta takes a concept previously confined to first class—pretending other flyers do not exist—and extending it to those paying lower airfare. The Thompson Aero and Factorydesign collaboration allows flyers in lie-flat beds to close a real, live door between themselves and the aisle. A thoughtful, illuminated “Do Not Disturb” sign ensures even well-meaning attendants won’t come a’knockin’.

Cooler Butts

The Holy Grail of airplane seats is comfy, breathable, and above all, light. (Airlines are not going to waste precious pounds on unnecessarily cushy digs.) Octaspring, a concept from upholsterer Boxmark, aviation seating company Stelia, and aviation manufacturing heavyweight Airbus, may just cover all the bases. It uses foam springs of varying densities to distribute the weight of your delicate glutes over the seat. Plus, the lightweight cushion retains less heat, meaning your butt gets a well-deserved chance to breathe. The whole thing is a third lighter than all-foam cushions, according to Airbus.

Airbus/Boxmark/Stelia

The Holy Grail of airplane seats is comfy, breathable, and above all, light. (Airlines are not going to waste precious pounds on unnecessarily cushy digs.) Octaspring, a concept from upholsterer Boxmark, aviation seating company Stelia, and aviation manufacturing heavyweight Airbus, may just cover all the bases. It uses foam springs of varying densities to distribute the weight of your delicate glutes over the seat. Plus, the lightweight cushion retains less heat, meaning your butt gets a well-deserved chance to breathe. The whole thing is a third lighter than all-foam cushions, according to Airbus.

Cable, With Extra Zip

You might not realize it from where you sit, but airplanes are snaked with electric cables. The jet of the future, however, needs much more electricity, which is why Diehl Aerospace’s Power Line Communication concept has those cables doing double and even triple duty. The design loads an aircraft’s existing cables with the ability to also transfer power and data, saving valuable weight (and the painful process of additional cable installation) in the process. The upside for you, dear flyer? More weight for squishy seats, fancy meals, and maybe a few more passengers. Think of them as potential friends.

Diehl Aerospace

You might not realize it from where you sit, but airplanes are snaked with electric cables. The jet of the future, however, needs much more electricity, which is why Diehl Aerospace’s Power Line Communication concept has those cables doing double and even triple duty. The design loads an aircraft’s existing cables with the ability to also transfer power and data, saving valuable weight (and the painful process of additional cable installation) in the process. The upside for you, dear flyer? More weight for squishy seats, fancy meals, and maybe a few more passengers. Think of them as potential friends.

More Legroom! Really! (Maybe)

Great ideas in aviation interiors abound, but entirely too few grapple with the #1 problem for flyers with lengthy gams: legroom. No more, says Airbus. Maybe. A collab with seatmaker Recaro and manufacturer THK, the Smart Cabin Configuration Flex Seat allows flight attendants to easily adjust the space between rows with the pull of a lever and a firm push. Specially designed metal tracks along the floor make the maneuver easy-peasy for the guardians of the skies, who can give passengers more space if the bookings allow. As if you needed another reason to be nice to flight attendants.

Airbus/Recaro/THK

Great ideas in aviation interiors abound, but entirely too few grapple with the #1 problem for flyers with lengthy gams: legroom. No more, says Airbus. Maybe. A collab with seatmaker Recaro and manufacturer THK, the Smart Cabin Configuration Flex Seat allows flight attendants to easily adjust the space between rows with the pull of a lever and a firm push. Specially designed metal tracks along the floor make the maneuver easy-peasy for the guardians of the skies, who can give passengers more space if the bookings allow. As if you needed another reason to be nice to flight attendants.

Are You Not Entertained?

The upside for you: Global Eagle Entertainment’s Airtime system lets you browse live television channels, a bunch of movies, games, and music, and digital publications (in case you didn’t pick up a magazine at the airport news stand). Plus, you can run the whole thing on your own device through the company’s high-speed web browsing system. The upside for the airlines: Airtime makes it very, very easy to serve you, the consumer, with pretty, targeted ads.

Global Eagle Entertainment

The upside for you: Global Eagle Entertainment’s Airtime system lets you browse live television channels, a bunch of movies, games, and music, and digital publications (in case you didn’t pick up a magazine at the airport news stand). Plus, you can run the whole thing on your own device through the company’s high-speed web browsing system. The upside for the airlines: Airtime makes it very, very easy to serve you, the consumer, with pretty, targeted ads.

Wheelchair to Freedom

Anyone who has attempted to use a wheelchair on an airplane can tell you: It is a huge, huge pain. If the super-skinny aisles don’t get you, the itsy-bitsy lavatories definitely will. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences  students say, “no more.” Their winning design, which snapped up the “University” category award, is a specially crafted seat that allows wheelchair users to roll right on top of the lavatory toilet. The goal is to make the extra-annoying task of peeing in the air an independent endeavor for those in wheelchairs. Ja!

Hamburg University of Applied Sciences

Anyone who has attempted to use a wheelchair on an airplane can tell you: It is a huge, huge pain. If the super-skinny aisles don’t get you, the itsy-bitsy lavatories definitely will. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences  students say, “no more.” Their winning design, which snapped up the “University” category award, is a specially crafted seat that allows wheelchair users to roll right on top of the lavatory toilet. The goal is to make the extra-annoying task of peeing in the air an independent endeavor for those in wheelchairs. Ja!

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