Aircraft cabin design is a combination of floor planning, home theater design and installation, safety regulation implementation and interior decorating – all inside the limited confines of an airplane. Aircraft cabin design encompasses everything from window dressings and seat fabric to lighting, screen placement and wiring.
Every year the complexity of aircraft cabin design increases as more IFE, cabin electronics and passenger comfort solutions are developed. At the same time older technologies and styles that were cutting edge 20 or 30 years ago are becoming obsolete and must be refurbished or replaced with modern furnishings, entertainment options and safety features.
The majority of aircraft passengers will only fly domestic or the rare international flight, which means they only experience the basic airline cabin design aesthetic. They may not realize the truly diverse array of cabin design features and styles utilized on luxury carriers, private and business jets or charter companies.
However, the familiar seating layout on major carriers could be changing in the future. A lot of leading airlines are having internal debates about where to go with business, first class and economy plus cabin layouts. Innovative designs that give passengers more room, without reducing capacity, could become more common in the years to come, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of these concepts aren’t entirely dissimilar from a game of Tetris. If you position passengers efficiently, you can give them more leg room without necessarily having to reduce the number of seats.
Longer haul commercial flights and international flights tend to have a bit more diversity in cabin design. Some of those flights even offer suites and sleeping options to passengers willing to pay a premium for business or first class sections.
These larger jets are also more likely to feature some modern cabin comforts or technologies, such as OLED displays used in innovative ways, micro-LED reading lights and electrochromic shading.
Business jets, private jets and charter jets often allow for more flexibility in cabin design and tend to feature more advanced comfort features and IFEC elements. Private owners can:
- Create mini-cabin lounges
- Enjoy what are essentially full showers and bathrooms
- Sleep in surprisingly comfortable bedrooms in regular-sized beds
- Stream content or watch movies and TV on bulkhead monitors, personal displays or projectors
Cabin design can have a significant impact on a passenger’s travel experience and how they feel when they land. Specialized lighting, when properly calibrated, can have a noticeable impact on passenger jet lag. Zonal and hi-res cabin audio can allow some passengers to sleep in relative quiet, while others enjoy movies or music. OLED wall screens, windows and even virtual skylights can transform day into night or offer spectacular mood lighting.
The limits of cabin design are dependent only on the size of a cabin, the creativity of designers and engineers and the technology available to aircraft owners.
Are There Schools for Aircraft Cabin Design?
There are a variety of books and guides on the topic of aircraft cabin design strategies, as well as, some engineering certifications relevant to cabin reconfigurations. Overall, cabin design is a less sought-after specialty than regular on-the-ground interior design, for which you can find dozens of trade school programs and courses. Cabin design is a harder field to get into because it requires expertise in materials, safety guidelines, technology and engineering.
Cabin safety and crashworthiness is always a priority on aircraft. Everything that goes into a cabin is heavily regulated by the FAA and EASA. Professionals who specialize in aircraft cabin design must be intimately familiar with relevant regulations that pertain to cabin safety, electronics and interior configurations. There are a number of continuing education courses that can help cabin interior design professionals stay current on new technologies and cabin avionics.
Safety may be one of the most frequently overlooked aspects of cabin design. Passengers often just see luxury, comfort and great IFEC. The safety and reliability of cabin interior features generally isn’t top of mind for flyers until an emergency occurs.
Companies like Rosen Aviation that specialize in designing and engineering IFEC and cabin comforts invest a lot of time and money into staying up to date on FAA and EASA regulations.
Entertaining features and comfortable cabins are hugely important, but they’ll always take a backseat to safety when it comes to air travel.
Work with a Company on the Cutting-Edge of Aircraft Cabin Design
Fleet and private plane owners seeking custom IFEC and cabin technology solutions will find a reliable partner in Rosen Aviation. Our team has the training, experience and capabilities to handle every aspect of the design, engineering, testing, manufacturing, delivery and ongoing support of IFEC and cabin electronics.