No more first class seats? Airline industry looks to future

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SEATTLE — Lets play a game, shall we? I’ll show you a word and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind.

Air travel …… Middle seat …. Airplane food

Put you in a bad mood? Take you back to the time you were in an uncomfortable seat, next to a screaming baby for hours? You’re not alone.

Ever wonder who designs the airline interiors we so enjoy (or not)?

Enter the Aircraft Interiors Expo: Americas, a conference dedicated to showcasing what’s coming down the line in everything from seats to amenities and though it may not seem like it the companies in attendance spend their time thinking about the customer experience. Its called emotional ergonomics and it’s a science that helps dictate what goes into each and every plane.

This year’s AIX event was held in Seattle and showcased the future of air travel.

Event highlights inlcude:

  • “IFE” stands for In Flight Entertainment and the future can be summed up into one word: streaming. United, American, and Southwest Airlines are already implementing inflight streaming video in some of their planes with more on the way. Passengers will be able to stream movies to their tablet or smartphone from the collection available on the screens in front of you. Along with this second screen experience the trend is looking like bigger screens, higher resolution, and revised motion commands (swipe navigation versus tap).
  • No more 1st Class? According to the industry representatives I spoke to airlines are moving away from a 3 class system to a 2 class system – opting to remove the 1st class cabin all together, in an effort to squash the association many of us have between economy and steerage on an old old wooden ship.
  • Quiet Bubble. This technology got a lot of press in the last week, many reports indicating it would create a “Quite Bubble” around a passenger’s head thereby neutralizing anything from the hum of the aircraft to a child screaming. Silentium is the company’s name and quiet zones are their game. Thing is, while the technology is stellar for overall airplane noise reduction it won’t help you if the toddler two seats back is teething. Its technology is already present in some cars to cut back on the road noise. Having tried it myself I can say that it definitely cut the overall noise considerably but I would still bring noise cancelling headphones in case that toddler wakes up mid-flight.

Check out the photos above.


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