Monday’s Passenger Experience Conference focused on improving passenger experience and tapping new revenues. We looked to the future with visionary concepts such as hyperloop and the world’s first space-line, and considered how aerospace increasingly needs to think of itself as part of the overall transportation ecosystem.

Passengers’ comparison point for their airline experience isn’t just other airlines – its Uber, Amazon or whatever their last great interaction was, meaning that more than ever, aviation is taking inspiration from all kinds of different industries to give passengers what they want.

Making it happen

When the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) opened their doors on Tuesday, exhibitors from all over the world showed us how they’re putting the theories into action.

Adient and Boeing showcased prototypes for lie-flat business class seats, following the announcement of their proposed joint venture earlier this year. Adient will transfer what it’s learned in automotive to aerospace.

STG Aerospace announced the launch of the latest version of its liTeMood LED lighting system, which offers fully customisable, animated scenes, such as a sunset or the norther lights, and a selection of over 16 million colours.

Flitetrak showed how the IoT trend is taking hold in aerospace, with potentially limitless applications – if we can get the standards right. The company launched its air monitoring system which can ‘smell’ harmful substances in the air and work alongside its smart seats.

Meanwhile, Stratasys unveiled its new 3D printing material -- Antero 800NA , a high-performance thermoplastic for 3D printing high-temperature, chemical-exposed parts, such as those in aerospace. It can be used with the company’s Fortus 900mc Aircraft Interiors Certification Solution – the 3D printer specifically designed for printing aircraft interiors.

OEMs

There were some novel ideas coming from the major OEMs too.  Airbus and Zodiac unveiled a new concept for converting the cargo belly of the aircraft into train-like sleeper lounges fitted into standard freight containers.

The European manufacturer was also showing the new ‘Airspace’ cabin for the long-range narrow body A320 family. The first of the A321 neos did its transatlantic test flight in February and the cabin with extra-large baggage space will be in service by 2020.

Both Bombardier and ATR were also showing new cabin plans for their regional aircraft, with ATR unveiling both new seats and a new IFE system for its turboprop family.

It’s not only about passengers either. Bose released new headphones which are the first active noise cancelling headsets designed for professional pilots on business jets or airlines. They are a third lighter than the previous model, have less clamp and are less noise cancelling.

The cabin of the future

We also got a glimpse of the cabin of the future, from LiFi connectivity to airborne cooking robots, ‘standing’ seats, 3D screens and more.

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