How a connected cabin will revolutionize the airline experience

Soon aircraft seats will monitor how often you go to the toilet and what food you eat...
17 October 2018

Airbus has recently announced its “Connected Cabin” concept. Source: Shutterstock

We all have our preferences when it comes to flying.

As you shuffle along in the aisle behind the long queue of painfully slow-moving passengers, you may be asking yourself the following: Will I be sat by the window seat or wedged between two loudly-eating strangers? How close in proximity will the crying infants be? What kind of movies can I put on and fall asleep to?

The above factors (and many others) can pay a large part in your comfort and happiness during the flight. And for airlines, catering to customers preferences and delivering a personalized experience is becoming increasingly important for business growth and staying ahead of the competition.

In order to monitor customer preferences, it looks like airlines are working on becoming smarter by leveraging big data and analytics in various business aspects- including how the inside of the cabin is used.

Last month, Airbus introduced a “Connected Cabin” concept at the APEX Expo in Boston. This new concept includes new seats developed by Airbus and Recaro which will measure customer behavior automatically.

The seats will display detailed information about passengers behavior during time spent there. It will be able to show who’s in each seat, whether it is occupied whether the armrests are up or down, if the tray table is in use, and if the passengers are reclined.

Connected chairs can monitor passengers behavior. Source: Shutterstock

“But what’s the point in this?” you may be asking yourself.

Well, this data can create many possibilities for airlines. For example, the information may show that passengers during a flight of less than one hour rarely decline their seats. From this information, the airline may choose to place aircraft seats that recline less on routes where they believe travelers would tolerate it more.

A central data collection system will link to seats, but also other elements of the cabin including galleys and lavatories.

The Connected Cabin will collect data wirelessly and monitor various parts of the cabin in real time. For example, the galley will be fitted with sensors that can automatically track the number of drinks left on board as well as if all the kitchen equipment is locked away ready for take-off. Currently, these things are checked manually.

Automating this will save a huge amount of time for the cabin crew and help aircrafts turn around quicker.

Furthermore, the Connected Cabin concept describes an application in which flight crews can gain access to an integrated ordering system.

For instance, upon a customer ordering a meal or beverage, the crew will be alerted and then this passenger data can be used in the future to provide a more personalized experience.

A Connected Cabin can also streamline safety onboard. Airbus has recently partnered with Fujitsu, introducing a scanner that reads the RFID chips attached in various aircraft safety items such as life vests and oxygen tanks.

Using the scanner, crew workers simply point it at seats, collecting data in just 15 seconds. If the safety standards of the equipment are good, the device’s display will turn seats green, yellow if there may be an issue soon, and red if the safety device needs to be replaced.

According to Airbus, a carrier who knows more about how their airline operates will reduce costs and increase revenue. They will be able to provide a better experience to your customers with decreased delays and more personalized journey.