FUTUR E V I SION
have heard of some of the co-branded
products on board a premium carrier,
but their primary motivations remain
price and schedule.
The reality is, outside the
pages of magazines like this,
nobody discusses the latest
implementation of airline
products such as the Collins
Aerospace Super Diamond with
doors as such. It’s “that new British
Airways seat”, and maybe even “the
black one, with that funny little door”.
Should the interiors industry be looking
to engage more with passengers, to make
their products, on their customers’ aircraft, a product
of choice? There’s an inherent tension between airlines,
which are very powerful brands selling what is largely
a commoditised experience – certainly in economy, and
in many cases in premium classes too – and supplier
companies that either already have a brand consumers
recognise, or want one.
One business model is to continue to white label
products. But it seems like the number of companies in
the passenger experience sphere that believe in B2B2C
(business to business to consumer) marketing is growing.
Every supplier should certainly have an answer to where
it stands on the B2B2C question.
The industry needs to explain why densification is
not inherently a PaxEx (passenger experience) disaster.
Fundamentally, the general public believes that the airline
industry is out there to pull a fast one over on them, and
to give them an uncomfortable, unpleasant time from the
moment they book their flight to the moment they arrive
The thing is, that reputation is not entirely
undeserved. Beyond the regular news items on how
poorly some passengers get treated, perhaps observe
a friend or family member who doesn’t work in
aviation the next time they book a flight.
The airline booking process is rife with nudge
economics, upsell psychology, and fine-print legalese.
Even airlines that advertise themselves as full-service
premium carriers now use basic economy to manipulate
lead-in pricing. The airport is a frustrating experience
at the best of times, and humiliating, dehumanising
or embarrassing at the worst. And then people get
on the plane…
As a general rule, in economy class there are more
people per square inch than there used to be, at the same
time that people are larger than they’ve ever been, both
MARCH 2020 073
T he world is moving faster than ever before,
and aviation is no exception, as is the aircraft
interiors industry within it. This decade, annual
commercial airline revenue alone looks set to exceed one
trillion US dollars, though whether that’s sooner or later
will depend on any number of externalities.
But over the next 10 years, what are the big strategic
challenges facing the aviation industry? Beyond just
replacing first class, updating economy seats or managing
connectivity expectations, what are the fundamental
questions about how the industry works, and for which
every company in the industry needs to have considered
THE B2B2C QUESTION
Few passengers think of anything but the airline when
they buy their airline ticket, and rarely even then. They
may think twice about the cheapest airline, they may
The passenger experience supplier model
has previously been to white label almost
all of its products, with few exceptions:
some Astronics power sockets, some inflight
connectivity from Gogo and, to a lesser
extent Panasonic, some Recaro seats (for
example the branded tray table latches
on easyJet), and some early Acro seats.
TOP: IFE HAS LONG BEEN USED AS
A WAY TO DISTRACT PASSENGERS
FROM ANY SEATED DISCOMFORT.
VR HEADSET SYSTEMS TAKE
DISTRACTION A STEP FURTHER
BELOW: AIRBUS CREATES AIRSPACE
CABIN DESIGNS NOT JUST TO PLEASE
ITS CUSTOMERS, BUT ALSO ITS
“ Should the
engage more with