The Future of the Aircraft Cabin: Tracking Trends & Debunking Myths

by Marisa Garcia + Skift Team - Aug 2014

Skift Research Take

Leading visionaries of aviation industry cabin design share their views on class structure, the challenges and complications of designing for the needs of a variety of travelers, as well as insights into the misconceptions of what is happening behind the scenes of the aircraft interiors design industry.

Report Overview

The Aircraft Interiors Industry is going through a boom and entering what one designer has called a second Golden Era. This may seem dubious to certain readers, concerned over trends of higher cabin density and oddly designed seats which seem targeted directly at annoying passengers, making them more uncomfortable in flight.

According to the most recent edition of the comprehensive “Bible” of Aircraft Interiors, Jetliner Cabins, by Jennifer Coutts Clay, the Aircraft Interiors Market was valued at $8.4 Billion in 2014, and expected to grow to approximately US$12 Billion by 2016.1

This is a time of some passengers enjoying apartments in the sky, while otherscomplain of feeling like tinned sardines. It is a time of great developments in technology which garner media attention, and other, also technological developments, which fly under the radar, greatly benefiting the possibilities for design and comfort in the cabin, but never noticed by passengers or the media—which, in a way, is the point. These silent benefits are not intended to be noticed, but to contribute to an overall improvement in cabin conditions.

The concept of class in cabins is shifting, and we’ll learn that it may shift even more in the coming years in what could be a revolution of cabin lay-out which will one day make passengers wonder how we ever managed to fly any other way.

We’ll look at some of the reasons behind the trends of cabin density and also look at trends for increased comfort—not just for the wealthiest passengers. We’ll separate reality from the stuff of dreams, and the from the stuff of nightmares. We’ll introduce possibilities, and debunk myths.

As we analyze the trends for aircraft cabin developments, we’ll discuss the manifold approaches taken to overcome safety limitations, and other limitations inherent to this very unique method of transport. We’ll address the problematic issue of customer perception of the product, and find out what the future has in store. To give our readers the best possible insights into these mysteries, we’ve gone directly to the designers who work expertly in this element, who balance between the needs of passengers and the needs of airlines, while also ensuring the needs of a safe aviation infrastructure are met.