The ‘floating’ plane cabin may be the future of travel

Editor’s Note – The Monthly Pass is a CNN tour series that highlights some of the most fascinating topics in the world of travel. This June, we take to the skies to take a look at the latest developments in aircraft interiors, including the people working to change the way we fly.

Hamburg (CNN) – This year’s Crystal Cabin Awards winners include a design for “floating” aircraft furniture and a cabin concept that can give each passenger their own personal refrigerator.

The prestigious Aviation Awards, which highlights innovation and creativity in aircraft interiors, were announced at a ceremony at the 2022 Indoor Airshow (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany.

Speaking to CNN Travel at the awards ceremony, Crystal Cabin Award Association president Lukas Kaestner said a team of industry experts spent a day questioning each application before arriving at their decision. The judges discussed the creativity and ingenuity of the ideas, and also considered the reactions of airlines and potential passengers.

Not all of the finalists’ products are on the market, says Kaestner. Many of them are still just concepts. But “the fundamental question for most jury decisions,” he explains, “is something that has a realistic chance of flying?”

“Floating” cabin furniture

After much debate, the 24 finalists, already shortlisted from a long list, were reduced to eight winners, with Teague and NORDAM’s Elevate cabin design, which depicts a luxurious cabin full of “floating” seats, which ranks first in the cabin class. concepts.

Speaking to CNN Travel earlier at AIX, the Teague team explained that the idea behind the concept was to “open up more space” in the cabin, by connecting all the furniture into a single track connected to the sidewall and aisle.

Teague’s team said the idea started when aircraft designers were chatting about a beer at AIX three years ago. Designers and engineers realized that they all faced the same problem – how to free up space in aircraft cabins without losing seats in the process. They started dreaming of a solution.

Meanwhile, Collins Aerospace’s passenger refrigerator concept, called the SpaceChiller, took home the award in the Passenger Comfort category. The Crystal Cabin jury was intrigued by Collins’ claim that the refrigerator would use half the power of traditional airplane refrigerator designs. The possibility to increase or decrease the size of the refrigerator, allowing a miniature version to be within reach of any potential occupant, was a magnet for the judges.

Among the candidates who missed tonight are Collins Aerospace’s non-tilting Airlounge seat, which debuted aboard Finnair earlier this year, and Pexco Aerospace’s pandemic-inspired AirShield, produced in collaboration with Teague, Which is designed to enhance the aircraft’s airflow, creating an invisible “shield” around individual passengers.

encourage innovation

The Crystal Cabin Awards often see some of the most innovative requests emerge in the university category, as the next generation of aviation designers present their vision for the future of aviation.

It’s always interesting to see where previous candidates will end up in this category, Castner told CNN Travel.

Some, like Alejandro Nunez Vicente, who was nominated in 2021 for the double-decker plane seat, are starting their own startups.

This year’s winner is Ken Kirtland of Georgia Institute of Technology, who dreamed of a zero-emissions electric plane called the Portal, which would use underutilized regional airports and fly at low altitude.

With airline passengers increasingly demanding more sustainable options, and the industry increasingly having to address the stark realities of their carbon footprint, Kirtland’s design caught the eye of Crystal Cabin judges.

The Portal’s inviting interiors also played a part in Kirtland’s win – the idea being that the cabin would have premium seats spread around the cabin, with passengers able to enjoy sweeping views of the sky.

For Kaestner, the university class sums up the theme of the Crystal Cabin Awards.

“We want to foster innovation and create or fuel discussion around the passenger experience,” he said.

Crystal Cabin 2022 Awards Winners:

Winning cabin concepts: Teague and NORDAM “Elevate”

Winning cabin systems: Caeli Nova “Cordillera”

Health and Safety Winner: Safran Cabin “Fire Resistant Cargo Container”

Winner comfort passenger: Collins Aerospace “Space Chiller”

IFEC Winner and Digital Services: Anuvu Coop. Southwest Airlines “Dedicated Space”

Winning materials and ingredients: Thales Avionics “Pulse”

Sustainable Cabin Winner: Diab “100% Recyclable Panels for Interior Cabin Decoration”

Winning University: Ken Kirtland “Gateway”

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