These 8 Innovative Airplane Design Winners Are the Stuff of Travelers' Dreams
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Airplanes are known for their cramped spaces -- airlines are always looking to cram in more travelers, after all. That's why it's comforting to know smart people are working to redesign airplane cabins with increased comfort in mind.
The winners of the 10th Crystal Cabin Awards -- the honor given to “excellence in aircraft interior innovation,” according to its website -- were announced this week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany. This year, there were a record-setting 95 entries from 18 nations for the eight categories: cabin concepts; cabin systems; electronic systems; greener cabin, health, safety and environment; material and components; passenger comfort hardware; university and visionary concepts.
The award winners created some interesting potential solutions to modernizing and improving airplane cabins. Check out the winners below to see what features might be included on airplanes of the future.
1. Cabin concepts winner: Etihad Airways
2. Cabin systems winner: B/E Aerospace
3. Electronic systems winner: Lufthansa Systems
Soon, you might not need to crane your neck toward the overhead screen to watch an in-flight movie. Instead, you can watch on your mobile device. Germany’s Lufthansa Systems won this category for its BroadConnect Portable device. The product is lightweight and includes a server, a modem and entertainment packages that can be accessed from passengers’ mobile phones and tablets or laptops. Flight attendants can load new films onto the system with a USB stick and carry it through the cabin easily.
4. Greener cabin, health, safety and environment winner: Boeing
5. Materials and components winner: Sekisui SPI
6. Passenger comfort hardware winner: Rebel.Aero
The standard airplane seat just got a serious upgrade thanks to this out-of-the-box design. These seats give passengers as much personal space as possible using an optional booster setting, allowing legs to stretch out without encroaching on fellow flyers. This helps not just the antsy individuals on board, but also could prevent deep vein thrombosis, blood clots caused by sitting still on flights.
7. University winner: Manon Kuhne, from Delft University of Technology
8. Visionary concepts winner: Zodiac Aerospace
Gone are the days of airplane class wars with this innovative design idea from France’s Zodiac Aerospace. Instead of section designations for first, business and economy classes, airplane cabins would have areas based on the activity intended for the space: sleeping, meeting or lounging. Those who want to talk can do so without disturbing neighboring passengers while those who want to sleep can use the designated area instead of attempting to nod off in their seats. Everyone wins.