Many have been wondering over the last few months what the future of travel will look like, and how the industry will adjust following the pandemic.
PriestmanGoode, a design consultancy based in London who have previously worked on design concepts for aircraft interiors, airports, public transport and hotels, have unveiled what they call ‘Pure Skies: A vision for tomorrow’s air travel’.
The company’s approach is to ‘experience the journey through the eyes of your passenger, identifying issues and opportunities at every touch point’. The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting implications has meant that consumer confidence has dropped significantly, particularly within the aviation and travel sectors, in the post-pandemic climate.
Nigel Goode, the co-founding Director at PreistmanGoode, says the company ‘looked ahead to imagine future scenarios and have taken into account new passenger behaviours driven by the global pandemic to ensure our designs can be implemented within a few years and will meet user and airline requirements for many years ahead’.
Starting from the ground up, the proposal includes a complete overhaul of both Economy and Business Class cabins (now called ‘Zones’ and ‘Rooms’ respectively), and has been developed around three main factors: personal space, hygiene and a touch-free journey. The company states that the concept ‘addresses pressing consumer, business and environmental concerns’. Hopefully, the new designs do something to bring back consumer confidence.
The new Economy ‘zone’ features some of the following changes:
- Dividing screens every other row for greater separation
- Back of seat shells with no gaps to eliminate dirt traps
- Removal of seat-back tray, replaced with a clip-on meal tray direct from the trolley
- Removal of IFE screens in favour of passenger owned devices.
- Recline mechanism entirely contained within the fabric skin of the seat to avoid split lines and hard-to clean gaps
- Staggered seat configuration to maximise the feeling of personal space and allow passengers to sit in their own travel groups
The ‘Rooms’, previously known as Business Class, feature:
- A brand-new seat design with minimal split lines and seam-welded fabrics
- Antimicrobial materials and finishes
- Personal lighting and temperature control
- IFE system that is fully synchronised with the passengers’ own devices
- Personal overhead stowage (removing the need for the standard overhead lockers)
- Personal wardrobe
Time will tell how many of these features do actually end up appearing in future aircraft design. We’re not sure how comfortable the ‘Zones’ seating will be, and removal of IFE screens may not be met with favour from consumers. However, it does allow airlines the option to add these on at a cost (like low cost carriers already do), allowing more fare flexibility.
The use of full length curtains, instead of clunky partitions or doors, in the ‘Rooms’ (formerly Business) cabin, is a great idea, maximising space and the reduction of cabin stowage allows passengers easier access to their belongings, as well as reducing unnecessary contact.
The company, along with the obvious changes, has incorporated environmental concerns and sustainable solutions into the design, as well as taking a psychological approach to the design, using calming colours, and creating a sense of personal space to address anxiety and stress felt by nervous fliers (likely set to increase in the post-pandemic climate).
There are also a range of hygiene and safety-focused additions, including additional cleaning systems and measures such as UVC cleaning and fogging, the use of antimicrobial fabrics and finishes on surfaces, and using light-coloured fabric to reassure travellers of the absence of stains and general cleanliness of the cabin. They have also implemented as much touch-free design throughout the aircraft as possible, minimising contact where possible with traditional ‘germ hotspots’.
What do you think, is this the future of aviation and travel? Which features are your favourite? Let us know in the comments.