Why is everyone talking about the black box… … when in reality the black box is not black, but bright …
Aviation is constantly changing and developing. It is not only the technical aspects of an aircraft that are optimized, but also the passenger experience. In the highly competitive airline market, there is an increasing search for ways to make the passenger experience special. This is the only real chance to create a bond between airline and passenger, so that he or she will continue to choose a flight with a particular airline in the future.
The most obvious factor at first glance is the on-board personnel. Even a flight with delays and turbulence can be a pleasant flight if the flight attendants take care of the passengers with kindness and courtesy. However, the demands on the passenger cabin itself are growing from year to year. Almost everyone carries a smartphone, a complete entertainment package to take away. While years ago it was special and exciting that every passenger – even in Economy Class – had his or her own monitor with entertainment programs, these concepts are now rather outdated and boring.
That’s why we at WingMag are asking ourselves today what the passenger cabin of the future could look like. This will involve the combination of two products that we have already presented separately in the past: lite2fix by jetlite and Virtual Reality in an airplane by Inflight VR. Today, we want to explain how these products could complement each other to create a completely new passenger experience.
Chris and Elena have been looking forward to their holidays for a long time. But they didn’t expect to experience the first highlight of their trip already on the flight.
As soon as they enter the cabin, they are immediately surprised by the natural and pleasant light. Until now, they have been used to lighting similar to the one at work – a very pleasant change. For both of them, the usually rather unpleasant first part of the journey now follows. They have to find their seats and are already terrified of having to deal with the many passengers standing in the aisle again. But this time it is different: on the search for their reserved seats the next surprise follows. In this plane, Chris and Elena find them directly. Because in the cabin wall there are displays that immediately catch the eye and are particularly easy to read.
Even the otherwise tiresome search for free storage space for Elena’s hand luggage is a short matter on this flight. Chris recognizes with a glance at the displays where near her seat free storage space is available. Elena is relieved, because the eternal search with opening and closing each compartment used to drive her crazy almost every time.
Furthermore, Chris notices that they are sitting on their seats much faster than usual and looks around in the passenger cabin. Apparently, they are not the only ones who have been in this situation. Almost all passengers are now sitting in their seats ready for take-off. Elena’s look in the direction of the display confirms her impression. The boarding seems to be completed, because the reservation displays have disappeared. Instead, in their place she now sees information on the weather and flight time, in addition to the usual instructions on seatbelt obligation.
The plane takes off. At cruising altitude it’s time for some entertainment. But Elena and Chris wonder where the usual screens with remote control are. Just as they are thinking about how to spend their time, flight attendants are now handing out new virtual reality glasses that they had previously only known from electronics stores. After a brief introduction to their controls, both put on their glasses and find themselves in an empty passenger cabin. Here, they can now choose whether they want to watch a film or perhaps go deep sea diving.
Chris decides to go on a journey into the depths of the sea, but Elena is still a bit sceptical and prefers to watch a movie first. After a short time they both almost completely forget that they are actually on a flying plane. But then Elena and Chris simultaneously receive a discreet piece of information in the field of vision of the glasses, which points out the forthcoming meal. Hence, they take off their glasses and pause their experience. Nevertheless, it leaves – even after a relatively short time – an enormous impression. After a look at the display on the wall, however, both are again sure that they are still on an airplane at cruising altitude.
During the meal Elena and Chris have only one topic of conversation: their experiences with the glasses. On their previous flights, this was usually the time when they planned their first day of vacation. Elena is so impressed by Chris’ stories that she now starts a dive after dinner. She always wanted to go diving. But unfortunately, she never actually could because she has a problem with the pressure equalization under water. Chris on the other hand becomes curious about the movie experience, as Elena assured him that it would almost feel like being in a movie theater. After only a short time he knows exactly what Elena meant by that. It is a particularly pleasant visual experience for him, because the picture is much bigger than on the usual small screens.
But then the film stops, and Elena’s diving trip also comes to an end. Both are back in the empty passenger cabin and are informed that the plane will land soon. So they take off their glasses and give them back to the crew. Moreover, they see on the sides that seat belts are compulsory.
When the plane has landed, the two of them expect, as always, a hectic atmosphere to break out in the passenger cabin: passengers unbuckle their seat belts and start looking for their hand luggage and stand in the aisle. They hate this usual routine, because they want to relax on vacation and not go straight off with stress. But their worries are unfounded on this flight. Because on the sides they only see a green light in the first few rows of seats, the remaining rows are illuminated in red. In addition, the direction in which the deboarding will take place is indicated. Elena already suspects that the green light will probably spread further and further back, and it’s true. Row by row the side lights turn green. After not too long they can leave the plane relaxed and without standing in the middle aisle.
While waiting for their suitcases at the baggage carousel, Elena and Chris agree: they both have the feeling that everything went faster today than usual. Additionally, they hope that they will be able to enjoy this new technology again on their return flight. At least they want to check all future flight bookings to see if there is a flight with this equipment.
Both lite2fix and the Inflight VR range are innovations from Germany. lite2fix is a product developed by SFS and jetlite that is set to revolutionise passenger cabin construction. The new panel system is not only a special component for easier and faster assembly of the passenger cabin. The built-in light sources increase the comfort on board. For instance, the jetlite lighting concept makes it possible to reduce the jet lag of passengers. Another factor that provides more comfort for passengers is the possibility of individualisation. Because the “invisibly” installed displays can be used individually, for example for on-board information, information on seat reservations or deboarding aids such as the traffic light system in our travel experience.
Inflight VR also offers these possibilities, although it is a completely different product. Inflight VR creates new experiences on board by allowing the passenger to put on virtual reality glasses. Thereby, he or she can enjoy entertainment on a whole new level during the flight. With its product, Inflight VR replaces the previously known in-flight entertainment systems. It is still possible to watch films as usual, with a small difference. Thanks to the special glasses, they can be viewed not only on a small monitor, but as a quasi-cinema experience. In addition, Inflight VR enables the user to continue to be informed about what is happening on board through the development of individually adapted software. Onboard information can be switched individually.
From the above mentioned features of lite2fix and Inflight VR it is clear that they are not competing products. Rather, they complement each other and can thus create the passenger cabin of the future. It is not a utopia, but can already be realized now.
From our fictional experience report it becomes clear that products such as lite2fix and the virtual reality glasses from Inflight VR create new incentives for passengers. New in-flight entertainment can have a significant impact on decisions to book a particular airline. Even ticket prices would not necessarily have to increase due to the introduction of the new technology. According to Inflight VR, costs could even fall:
Inflight VR’s platform is by far the most impressive […] and at the same time the most cost-effective passenger experience on the market. Airlines don’t have to make any investments. Operating costs are minimal compared to other products such as screens or the internet.Inflight VR Marketing Director Matthias Walter
There are many innovations for the passenger cabin. The annual Crystal Cabin Award, for example, provides a good overview. One thing is clear: the needs and requirements of passengers are increasing from year to year. They want more comfort, but at the same time they also want entertainment technology that meets the latest standards. A combination of lite2fix and Inflight VR covers precisely these two aspects.
We are curious whether our team from WingMag will be able to fly in our presented passenger cabin of the future in the not too distant future. We believe that even frequent flyers, for whom a flight is nothing special anymore, could revive the special feeling of the very first flight with lite2fix and Inflight VR.
Cover picture © Man Wong
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