British design firm Priestmangoode, which has played a pivotal role in many of the airline cabin designs we love today, has released an interesting concept for a passenger cabin of the future called Pure Skies.
The Airline Cabin Of The Future?
Pure Skies focuses on a post-pandemic travel industry, with new emphasis on:
- Personal space
- Touch-free journey
Priestmangoode has developed a two-cabin interior in what it calls Pure Skies Rooms (business class) and Pure Skies Zones (Economy Class). Common to both cabins is new hygiene concept that seeks to re-assure passengers of cleanliness. For example, seats will be coated in a special ink that will turn color (in reaction to cleaning product) to show they are clean.
Pure Skies Rooms
The Pure Skies Rooms cabin looks much like the Qatar Airways QSuite concept, with one exception. Rather than doors, floor-to-ceiling curtains would be used. The cabin would feature:
- Each seat is a fully enclosed personal space, partitioned by full height curtains
- 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 synchronized with the passengers’ own devices
- Personal overhead stowage
- Personal wardrobe
Pure Skies Zones
The Pure Skies Zones cabin removes many of the touchpoints in which dirt and germs can congregate, eliminating features like tray tables, built-in IFE, and seat back pockets.
- Dividing screens every other row for greater separation
- Staggered seat configuration to maximize feeling of personal space and allow passengers to sit in the groups they are travelling in – whether alone, as a couple or in groups
- Back of seat shells with no gaps to eliminate dirt traps
- Recline mechanism entirely contained within the fabric skin of the seat to avoid split lines and hard-to- clean gaps
- Removal of IFE screens in favour of passenger- owned devices. This concept also presents additional commercial opportunities: straight seats without IFE screens with ability to [rent] a device; staggered, with more seat pitch with screen option – improved offer but increase in price.
- Removal of seat-back tray, replaced with a clip-on meal tray direct from the trolley
- Rethinking the seat back literature pocket with a new, optional removable bag for each passenger or the option to clip-on their own bag
Priestmangoode notes that most airlines are only worried about survival right now, but that since new seat types take several years to be built and certified, now is the time to start thinking 3-4 years down the line.
While the business class cabin looks lovely, I’m not sure about the hardshell seats in economy class that look more like train seats than any traditional conception of airline seats. But I do like that Priestmangoode has acknowledged that social distancing will not be possible but nevertheless introduced ideas that will eliminate the spread of germs and give passengers more comfort about being close to one another.
As great as the color change for cleanliness concept seems, it would mean that airlines would have to actually sanitize the seats, not just put out a bunch of PR fluff about it.
I think we all know what this means in practice.
While I’m sure germaphobes and other OCD (read: mentally handicapped) persons would welcome this concept, it is never going to be practical to implement on a large scale. Avoiding disease is about risk benefit, and we do not need this level of cleanliness in an airplane. It’s not like airports, cars, trains, shops, or any other areas where travelers frequent will have this level of cleanliness, so what’s the point?
The first time I flew Air France Le Premiere I thought, wow, curtains are so much more practical, feel more private, and are probably easier for airlines to implement. Having tried the various “door suites” I absolutely prefer a good curtain and can see this taking off.
The economy seats, umm, no. It’s a step up from a subway.
The rooms concept seems to be a well thought out design which I would love to try, it looks great. The zones, not so much, it looks uncomfortable. As others have said, the color change concept is a gimmick that probably would not make it to production, unless we need hypercolor seats. Ick.
Those economy seats really do look awful. They remind me of seats in an airport that are intentionally made to be not too comfortable.
Getting rid of IFE screens STINKS
I wouldn’t fly an airline that had those economy seats
Fat Chance. Dream On.
Any new economy solution should not have a shared armrest. Take the opportunity to end armrest wars, and the associated risk of contamination. That and the lack of significant shielding between neighboring seats makes this economy solution a hard pass. I do like the concept of the third staggered seat though.
I agree. The first class seats get an A+, but those economy seats, ouch. They may be easier to clean, but there is even less distancing than we get from current seats. Any future seat configuration needs more of a physical barrier between the passengers.
I’m still skepitcal of long term change in how we focus on germs and disease transmission. The collective world-hive-mind has a short memory. As soon as this episode is behind us we’ll go back to sneezing on everything and having almost half of all men not wash their hands after they use the bathroom.
Doesn’t look like the economy class seats recline…Ouch. Also, no IFE for Economy too?
Looks a little better than some designs I’ve seen. At least these designs facilitate emergency evacuation a little better.