In a bid to make flying comfortable for us airplane manufacturers, designers and airlines sometimes come up with brilliant ideas that change the very nature of the way we fly.
It’s because of these paradigm-shifting innovations, airplane cabins have changed over the decades.
To give you an insight into what these ideas are and how they changed flying forever, here are 10 airplane cabin innovations.
1.The Overhead Cabin
You may today think that small overhead cabins aren’t an innovation worth mentioning, it plays a vital role in passenger convenience and safety.
Overhead bins allow passengers to bring personal items/luggage onboard and they make the skies safer, keeping those bags secure during emergencies and turbulence.
This is one of the 1st and the most basic of airplane cabin innovations and has stuck with us since the start of commercial aviation.
In India, premium economy cabin is only available with Vistara, however, universally it’s a pretty popular choice for travellers when it comes to flying.
Introduced by Virgin Atlantic in the 1990s, this fourth cabin class has made comfortable long-haul travel affordable for many.
A true premium economy cabin is class apart with unique seats and loads of comfort and service features.
There are many airlines offering proper premium economy seats today including Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS and Singapore Airlines, but Virgin Atlantic has done its legacy proud by offering passengers a premium economy experience that is hard to beat.
3.The First-Class Shower & Spa
Emirates airline’s first-class shower and spa took a lot of clever engineering to accommodate, but the result is pretty astounding.
The shower rooms themselves are larger than the average house bathroom, offer heated floors with manual temperature control and are overseen by dedicated shower attendants.
For longer flights, it’s an excellent way to refresh and relax before landing, and a perfect complement to the extreme luxury of today’s best first-class service.
4.The Seat Pod
A British Airways innovation in the mid-1990s, the seat pod has evolved to include a wide range of versions, including super-lush and extra-roomy high-tech business-class seats.
Features such as automatic seat control that convert to angled-flat or full-lie-flat beds, state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment, massage functions and a host of other personal comforts, make long-haul flights a breeze for passengers.
They make sure that you reach your destination well rested and satisfied.
5.The Private Cabin
Some airlines, like Emirates, Singapore Airlines, and Asiana Airways aim to keep first class worth the extra fare by offering private cabins.
If you can afford it, little compares to the joy of a long-haul journey with five-star pampering in a cabin all your own.
Its as if you’re flying in your own private jet.
6.Onboard Lounges & Bars
Inspired by the lounges launched by iconic airlines like Pan Am, a number of airlines are including a social space on larger airplanes, giving passengers a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy a few beverages with old friends and new.
Virgin Atlantic revived the lounge trend in the 1990s. Other International airlines like Emirates and Etihad followed soon after giving a luxurious experience to its customers.
7.The In-Flight Boutique
This is another service that most of us ignore but Duty-free shopping is one of many entertainments on offer in the skies.
Airlines have raised the bar for in-flight retail by adding shopping menus to their entertainment screens and offering passengers the opportunity to ship the goods straight to their homes.
In fact, many international airlines such as Korean Air have introduced shopping lounges that let us stretch our legs while we do a little in-flight window shopping.
Trans World Airways branded in-flight entertainment as a key feature of long-haul air travel, but even they didn’t foresee how entertaining the skies would become.
Today, almost all airlines around the world offer a variety of blockbusters, shows, live television, music, and sports which are all on demand.
High-resolution screens, state-of-the-art technology, and the introduction of in-flight Wi-Fi provide continued improvements in this cabin comfort.
9.Cabin Lighting & Environmental Control
Airlines like Iceland Air, Virgin and Etihad have programmable LED lighting that set a pleasant mood for their guests.
Lighting also helps passengers regulate their biorhythms or body clock, during long- flights across time zones.
Improvements in climate, humidity, and noise reduction are making next-generation aircrafts healthier, more restful places.
Airlines are also experimenting with ways to use aromas to soothe us and calling on top chefs and scientists to make in-flight meals more appetizing.
10.Improved Aircraft Windows
The larger windows on next-generation aircraft like the Boeing Dreamliner and Airbus A350 provide better views of the world below and let in ample natural light, which makes the cabin feel less confining.
In fact, companies are trying to add innovations like solar-powered airplane windows, which will eventually charge your phones and tablets.