Just why does it take the industry’s disruptors so many repeated attempts, endless demonstrations and monotonous rehearsals before groundbreaking innovation can be accepted?
Why do airline CEOs view something so important as passenger seating simply as an asset rather than as the most potent source of travelling comfort regardless of cabin class?
The industry should be challenging the norms of the flying experience, questioning what we improve in the cabin and what we could live without. Passenger comfort and experience should however remain one of the guiding principles by which the low-cost and regional airline industry serves its customers.
This year’s RedCabin`s Aircraft Cabin Innovation Summit Europe hosted by Airbus was an amazing showcasing in innovation especially in the seating domain. It served to show that there is a huge amount of innovation out there to embrace. It has been invented for a reason: it is responding to a demand for comfort.
So the airline industry must now start listening and embracing the principle of innovation in comfort and not feel compelled to race to the lightest weight option at all costs because that simply risks sacrificing the passenger experience.
Most importantly, operators must start investing and moving forward to make passenger comfort a central part of their brand proposition, their brand promise – and they must think outside the box and welcome the radical.
It’s fair to say that progress will only be achieved through collaboration – from the outset at the conceptual stage through to supplier selection and manufacture. At each stage, all the various complex and competing issues need to be discussed openly such as weight, space and access – before being resolved with experiential principles front and centre.
Less weight can actually mean more for the passenger as ultra light models often factor in more cushioning. Certainly, we should not be willing to trade off passenger experience versus sustainability however and this will remain a conundrum that needs to be resolved.