A poll by the American broadcaster CNBC found that 27% of Americans rate airplane travel as unbearable. For 69% of those surveyed by another research – performed by the travel agency Expedia – sleeping is preferable to having a conversation with the passenger sitting by your side.
Faced with all these nuisances caused by air travel, several airlines are investing heavily in technologies that provide greater comfort and distraction for passengers.
One of these novelties came from a design firm located in London, the FactoryDesign. The company has developed individual seats for British Airways in the form of capsules to better accommodate users during the flight. The capsules have walls that cut off eye contact between passengers, giving a sense of privacy never before experienced on airplanes. Each module is equipped with its own light, television screen, and tilting armchairs. As the modules are closed, the inclination of the seats does not bother the other passengers.
To lessen the irritation of the passengers during the flight or even calm the nerves of the phobic, American Virgin created a lighting system in their planes that can totally adapt to the mood of the passengers. By changing the color and intensity of the light in the environment, the company discovered it was possible to change people’s mood. During a night flight, for example, lamps in shades of red and with low intensity are activated indicating to the passengers’ body that it is sleeping time.
Another important aspect of an aircraft commuting experience is the choice of seat. The vast majority of people struggle to get a window seat at the time of ticket purchase. To resolve this type of problem, the aircraft manufacturer Thales has developed a side monitor for airplane seats simulating a window bigger than the conventional ones which we are accustomed to. In addition to separating passengers from each other, the screen acts as a private window, allowing the users to choose the view they want to see – they can even use this “window” to project movies.
For those who prefer a natural view, there is even another interesting option that is being designed in the manufacture of aircraft. AviationGlass has been working on an aircraft project whose fuselage is made of a type of high resistance glass. The transparent material allows passengers to enjoy the landscape outside from any chosen seat, including through the aircraft ceiling.
The company ensures that all aircraft glazing developed comply with international safety standards. The company has several aircraft fuselage designs, and its products can be used both inside and outside the airplane.
The big challenge for airlines will not be to offer new products but to combine these innovations at a more competitive price, especially in the executive and economic classes, which are the ones that most lack this type of luxury. The research cited at the beginning of this article shows greater dissatisfaction by those who fly the cheaper classes as more expensive tickets already guarantee greater comfort for passengers.
Despite seeming conflicting, the idea of providing high-tech devices for economic classes can be a great differential to attract customers, as the vast majority of people prefer the cheaper tickets.