The future of flying? First class cabins may be mixed with economy seats

See what’s in store for the skies at this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards.

By Paige Reddinger 06/02/2019

Whether you’re crammed into economy or lounging on your seat/lounge chair/bed in first class, flying has never exactly been accommodating. Even airlines renowned for their luxury amenities in first class, like Emirates, are considering making the top tier seats windowless to capitalise on efficiency. For economy class, seats can hardly get any smaller and passengers simply purchase more neck rolls, space saving bags and noise cancelling headphones to make flying bearable.

For the 13th annual Crystal Cabin Awards- a competition between airlines, suppliers, aircraft manufactures, and universities to come up with new ideas for airplane design- 94 submissions from 22 countries were put forth to improve travelling through the skies. One surprising entry proposes to blend first class seats with economy. But how will that go over with first class passengers, who, in long-haul flights are forking over thousands of dollars for their slightly larger piece of aeroplane real estate?

The concept, called “1 for all” and conceived by a Korean student at Hongik University in collaboration with seat manufacturer Advent, weaves different seat classes together to use space in the aircraft more efficiently. In the proposed rendering of “1 for all,” first-class seats retain their amenities, like larger seating and more space, but are separated by partitions and in some cases take up an extra level of seating so first class is, literally, sitting on top of economy. Only time will tell if this design will fly, but the concept has already been shortlisted as a finalist for the awards.

Other ideas included a Panasonic business-class sleeper seat with an added “wellness” functionality, which has premium lighting, active noise cancellations, nanoe air cleansing, a Detalytics health app and Mimi personalized audio. More bizarre is a new seating app called “Smeated,” designed by Aircraft Cabin Modification GmbH (ACM). Its smartphone technology aims to monitor a passenger’s posture and advise passengers on how to sit more ergonomically. Here’s an idea: Design a more comfortable seat.

Three finalists will be announced at the beginning of March and will pitch their concepts to a 27-member jury in person at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. The awards will take place on April 2nd at Hamburg’s Chamber of Commerce. In the meantime, check out last year’s top innovations.


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Furniture Maker RH Has Designed Sleek Private Jets And A Yacht You Can Charter

The upscale home-furnishings company is bringing a trained design eye to both often-overlooked interiors.

By Helena Madden


Inside The First All-Private Space Mission To The International Space Station

The Ax-1 crew is scheduled to splash down after conducting scientific research aboard the International Space Station for nearly two weeks.

By Michael Verdon


Watch This One-Person eVTOL Float Above The Tuscan Hillside

The personal aircraft can reach speeds of 101km/h and doesn’t require a license to fly.

By Bryan Hood


The World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Helicopter Could Hit Skies Next Year

Piasecki Aircraft Corp. is adding a fuel cell to a small, two-seat rotorcraft to create the world’s first helicopter to run on hydrogen.

By Michael Verdon


‘World’s First Private Helicopter’ Is Hitting The Skies Next Year

Designed for personal use, the Hill HX50 chopper will take off next year.

By Rachel Cormack


Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected