This is what airplane cabins could look like post-coronavirus

9 Aug 2020 by Seher Asaf
PriestmanGoode's cabin design

A new plane cabin design for the post-Covid-19 world features dividing curtains, business class “rooms” and seats that can change colour to show passengers they have been cleaned.

London-based design studio PriestmanGoode has unveiled the new design for cabin interiors that seeks to address passenger concerns about travel in a post-pandemic world.

The design concept, dubbed “Pure Skies”, has re-conceptualised both business and economy class cabins and renamed them “Rooms” and “Zones” instead.

The design company envisions the Pure Skies Room (business class) to have fully enclosed individual seat partitions with full height curtains. Antimicrobial materials and finishes will be used to make the seats which will each come with a personal wardrobe and overhead storage bin.

PriestmanGoode's cabin design
The Pure Skies Room is a fully enclosed personal space, partitioned by full height curtains

Passengers will also have an IFE system that is fully synchronised with their own devices to reduce touch.

Meanwhile, the company’s Pure Skies Zones (economy class) will feature a combination of staggered and non-staggered seat configurations to “maximise personal space” and allow passengers to sit in the groups they are travelling in, whether alone, as a couple or in groups, says the design company. The seats will also have dividing screens to create separation.

IFE screens will be removed in favour of passenger owned devices. Each seat will have a device holder that can hold multiple personal or airline devices.

This company says the concept also presents additional commercial opportunities: straight seats without IFE screens with ability to hire a device; staggered, with more seat pitch with screen option – improved offer but with an increase in price.

PriestmanGoode's cabin design
Seating in the Pure Skies Zone with a fold down table with wireless charging and integrated UVC cleaning

Seat-back tray are also removed and replaced with a clip-on meal tray direct from the trolley. Each seat also has a new, optional removable bag where the seat back literature is kept.

PriestmanGoode's cabin design
The literature pocket has been replaced with an optional removable bag for each passenger or the option to clip-on their own bag

The use of colour psychology to reassure passengers

The design studio is using multi-coloured lighting to reassure passengers that the seats have been cleaned. PriestmanGoode says Cyan – the colour of UV light – and purple would signal the cleaning process, before changing to warmer shades of peach and yellow during the flight.

“We have introduced the idea of UVC light and heat cleaning to the cabin. And, by using existing technologies such as photochromic and thermochromic inks that would react to the new cleaning methods, a message of reassurance can be seen on the fabric surface while boarding but then disappears once the passenger is settled,” explains Maria Kafel-Bentkowska, PriestmanGoode’s head of CMF (colour, material and finish).

PriestmanGoode's cabin design
Seat fabrics include types of inks that react to new cleaning methods like UVC and display a message of reassurance to passengers while boarding

The cabins won’t come to fruition in the immediate future as, according to PriestmanGoode, it can take three years to develop and certify future cabin products but the design studio says it’s important to start planning now.

“We’ve looked ahead to imagine future scenarios and taken into account new passenger behaviours driven by the global pandemic to ensure our designs can be implemented within a few years and will meet user and airline requirements for many years ahead,” said Nigel Goode, co-founding director at PriestmanGoode.

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Cover of November 2020 - January 2021 edition of Business Traveller
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